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Rawlins falls short of century

Photograph by Mike Hewitt/Getty ImagesFine form: Rawlins cuts the ball through backward point during his knock of 96 for Sussex against South Africa A during a tour match at Arundel Castle Cricket Ground

Delray Rawlins returned to form after scoring a disciplined 96 runs in a century partnership with debutant Jonty Jenner on the opening day of Sussex’s four-day match with South Africa A at Arundel Castle Cricket Ground.

The pair came together just before lunch to lead a Sussex fightback after the English county side lost four wickets for seven runs following an opening stand of 83 between Harry Finch and Will Beer after winning the toss.

Rawlins and Jenner completed their century stand when they carried Sussex to 190 for four at tea. The two teenagers added 173 runs in 45 overs for the fifth wicket in taking the score to 263 before Jenner was out for 68 after being caught at long leg off medium-pace bowler Willem Mulder.

Rawlins, a Bermuda batsman, departed 26 runs later with the score 289 for six when he was bowled trying to hit Junior Dala square of the wicket. Sussex closed the day on 325 for seven.

Rawlins completed his 50 off 121 balls with five fours and a six when the score was 197.

“A bit gutted not to get to three figures, but so it goes. Really happy to be back in the middle though,” he tweeted.

Mulder, the fifth bowler used by South Africa, also broke the opening stand when he trapped Beer (28) lbw with his third delivery. Rawlins, who came in at No 4, then watched Mulder knock back Finch’s middle stump after the Sussex captain scored 48.

Duanne Olivier, who had taken the new ball, returned to the attack to strike with successive balls as Phil Salt (5) was held at point and Liam Smith feathered a catch behind to his first ball as Sussex lost four wickets in the space of 21 balls.

Jenner survived the hat-trick attempt and after lunch he and Rawlins accumulated runs steadily and sensibly on a typically slow Arundel Castle pitch.

Rawlins, who came down the pitch to hit Dane Piedt, the off spinner — who has played seven Tests — back over his head for six as he reeled off some impressive strokes throughout his innings.

Jenner made his first misjudgment when he mistimed a hook to long leg to give Mulder his third wicket.

He batted for 194 minutes, faced 114 balls and hit eight fours. Rawlins, like Jenner just 19 years old, pressed on and looked secure until he tried to whip a length ball from Junior Dade through square and lost his off stump.

His 96 came from 194 deliveries and included 12 fours. He batted for almost four hours.