England sent West Indies pace warning as Jayden Seales stars for Sussex

Jayden Seales – England sent West Indies pace warning as Jayden Seales stars for Sussex
Jayden Seales took a match-winning five for 29 against Derbyshire – he is the leading wicket-taker in Division Two - Getty Images/Stuart Leggett

England’s batsmen are tuning up nicely in the shires, with Joe Root and Harry Brook again in the runs at Headingley this weekend.

But at Derby, West Indies’ Jayden Seales offered a scintillating glimpse of what Root and Brook can expect to face when the Test summer begins in July as he powered table-topping Sussex to a thumping victory.

Seales, the brilliant 22-year-old from Trinidad who has taken 34 wickets in 10 Tests, had a spell at Sussex last season chalked off by injury, but he is proving worth the wait.

After taking a match-winning five for 29 against Derbyshire, he is the leading wicket-taker in Division Two, with 18 at an average of 21.2. He has outshone his opening partner, Ollie Robinson, who has been solid but not spectacular in the early weeks of the season.

Seales has provided some electrifying moments. In Sussex’s first win of the season, against Gloucestershire, he bowled the promising Ollie Price, who was shouldering arms, with an outrageous nip-backer. This time, there was pace, reverse-swing, and searing yorkers as he made light work of Derbyshire, who were bowled out for just 109 in their second innings (with New Zealand overseas player Blair Tickner absent after revealing his wife has been diagnosed with leukaemia). Twice Seales dismissed batsmen for first-ball ducks, as he simply proved too quick. Having been driven to 479 by 113 from their other overseas pro, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sussex won by an innings and 124 runs.

Seales has not played a Test since late 2022 because of injury, but his form for Sussex is a timely reminder of the power-packed pace attack West Indies will bring to these shores for their three Tests in July. The veteran Kemar Roach is back at Surrey, while there are the two Josephs: the experienced Alzarri and raw Shamar, who was the architect of their extraordinary win over Australia at the Gabba in January. Intriguingly, Jason Holder is at Worcestershire to try to win a Test recall after a period of prioritising T20 cricket. West Indies’ batting could be brittle, but their bowling will not be.

It is not just Seales in fine form for resurgent Sussex. This was their second win of the season, which takes them top of Division Two. Their side looks nicely balanced in Paul Farbrace’s second season. The all-rounders Fynn Hudson-Prentice and Danny Lamb give them depth with bat and ball, while Jack Carson’s off-spin and James Coles’ left-arm orthodox give them slow bowling from differing angles. In Robinson and Seales, of course, they have a new-ball attack of Test quality.

Yorkshire will hope to secure their first win of the season on Monday. They have Glamorgan on the ropes, thanks to centuries for Finley Bean and Root, who made 156 from just 165 balls, his second century in as many matches. Brook made 65, with his dismissal bringing about a declaration from captain Shan Masood, with Yorkshire on 519 for seven. By stumps, Glamorgan were 171 for three, still 129 behind.

Middlesex, currently the only team besides Sussex with a Division Two win in this rain-ravaged early season, will try to press for an unlikely win against Leicestershire at Lord’s. Middlesex are 407 for eight in their first innings, 101 in front, after hundreds for Sam Robson and Leus du Plooy.

In Division One, Lancashire’s most junior batsmen have posted a gutsy fightback, but Kent still look likely victors. Lancashire, following on, posted 332 in their second innings to set Kent 164 for victory. That the target is so high was thanks to the efforts of youngsters George Balderson (48), George Bell (65) and Matthew Hurst (58). Kent reached stumps on 71 for the loss of only Zak Crawley. They need just 93 to win, but will have to contend with Nathan Lyon and Tom Hartley on the final day.

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