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Page last updated at 18:39 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 19:39 UK

Yardy on form in Manchester gloom

CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY THREE: Lancashire 236 Sussex 119-1
(Sussex 3pts, Lancs 1pt)
2-5 September 2009

Mike Yardy
Sussex skipper Mike Yardy has now made 886 first-class runs this season

Sussex captain Mike Yardy hit his sixth 50-plus County Championship score this summer as the visitors made the best of another rain-ruined Manchester day.

Only 28.2 overs were possible as Sussex replied to Lancashire's 236, advancing from an overnight 11-0 to 119-1.

Yardy will resume the Sussex innings on Saturday morning on 64 not out.

But, with eighth-placed Sussex 117 in arrears and both sides badly needing not to lose, the final day is likely to be just a search for bonus points.

Play on the third day of the Division One fixture was only able to get going in mid-afternoon, the latest start of the three days so far, despite the forecast suggesting it would be the most settled day.

Former England pace bowler Saj Mahmood ripped out Championship debutant Joe Gatting's off and middle stumps, but Yardy looked untroubled, as he moved to within 114 of his 1,000 four-day runs for the season.

Fellow left-hander Ed Joyce also made his way to 38 not out off 57 balls.

There were a couple more brief showers later in the afternoon and early evening, meaning that 167 overs have now been lost over the first three days.

And, Sussex's only realistic aim on the final day is to maintain their current bonus-point advantage in the match over fourth-placed Lancashire.

Although in fourth, Lancashire, who have won just three Championship games all summer (and two of them against hapless Worcestershire), went into this game still in trouble, just 18 points ahead of Sussex.

Of the five teams still in danger of the drop, Sussex and Hampshire still have three matches left after this one, while the rest have just two.

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