Gloves off: Carey fires as a specialist batsman
Australian posts twin fifties on County Championship debut, slams four sixes in an over to help steer Sussex to victory
21 August 2019, 03:18 PM AEST
Australian Alex Carey has continued his impressive recent form with the bat, posting twin half-centuries as a specialist batsman on his County Championship debut for Sussex.
Carey was a revelation with bat and gloves for Australia during the recent World Cup, named in the official team of the tournament to push his case for a late call-up to Australia’s Ashes squad.
This one from Alex Carey had the Hove faithful purring! 😸64 for 3, 81 to win #gosbts pic.twitter.com/aq2VyMz4qy— Sussex Cricket (@SussexCCC) August 20, 2019
A Test spot didn’t eventuate, but the left-hander has since continued his hot form for Sussex in T20 cricket. And he has so impressed his new teammates – and their Australian coach, Carey’s Adelaide Strikers’ mentor Jason Gillespie - that he was picked as a batsman for their four-day match against Middlesex this week, despite only being contracted to play T20 cricket.
And the change of format did little to quell Carey’s run-scoring feats as the left-hander, batting at No.5, posted 56 in the first innings and then 69 not out from just 54 balls on Tuesday as Sussex won by seven wickets.
With his side in a spot of bother at 3-44 chasing 145 to win, Carey got moving with three fours in an over off right-armer James Harris before he clubbed four sixes in an over off the bowling of leg-spinner Nathan Sowter, the fourth of which brought up his fifty from just 34 balls.
He struck eight fours and four sixes in total as he dominated a 101-run stand with opener Luke Wells to keep alive Sussex’s hopes of promotion to the top division.
Carey and Wells had also shared a 125-run stand in the first innings, with the Australian striking nine fours in his innings of 56 from 109 balls, against a Middlesex attack led by former England Test quicks Steve Finn and Toby Roland-Jones as well as Ireland swing bowler, Tim Murtagh.
Carey’s focus will now switch back to the white ball and the latter stages of the T20 competition – Sussex are currently top of the table in the South Division – and he could yet play more red-ball games for the county as the season draws to a close.
"I’d love to, but I don’t know how that’ll work with the negotiations back home," he said after Sussex was granted permission by Cricket Australia for Carey to play this week, given his initial contract with the county did not include first-class cricket.
Alex Carey swats Roland-Jones through extra cover for four 🎯 70 to win!Gripping stuff! Watch live here: https://t.co/DNVJoTNVHq pic.twitter.com/l2x2B8TZw5— Sussex Cricket (@SussexCCC) August 20, 2019
"But it’s been a fantastic month, it’s a great group of guys and it was pleasing to get a win in my first game.
"It was nice to get a couple of good partnerships. I think the first one was pretty crucial just to absorb that pressure, and then today to hit the winning runs … was great."
While Carey impressed, the hero of Sussex’s win was seam bowler Ollie Robinson, who picked up match figures of 14-135 – highlighted by 8-34 in the first innings – to break a 55-year-old county record.
Elsewhere in the County Championship, Australia’s World Cup skipper Aaron Finch fell just short of what would have been his eighth first-class century, dismissed for 90 in Surrey’s clash against Hampshire at The Oval.
After Scott Borthwick (100) and Ollie Pope (176no) posted centuries, Finch clubbed 12 fours and a six in his 126-ball stay before he clipped medium pacer Ryan Stevenson to mid-wicket.
Of the other Australians involved in county cricket this week, Peter Handscomb scored 29 as Durham amassed 9-544 against Leicestershire, Glenn Maxwell made 31 in Lancashire’s 545 against Glamorgan, for whom Shaun Marsh managed just 8 and 9, while Callum Ferguson managed just a single across two innings of Worcestershire’s match against Northamptonshire.