Glamorgan duo’s win at Sussex is ruined by Ollie Robinson’s ankle injury
The LV= Insurance Championship on-field action was overshadowed for the second weekend in a row by worries about an England fast bowler’s pre-Ashes fitness.
In the morning session at Hove, after bowling for an hour, Ollie Robinson went to the restroom and was never heard from again.
His disappearance added to the suffering of his Sussex teammates as a 288-run partnership between Marnus Labuschagne and Kiran Carlson turned the day into an unwelcome endurance test for the hosts.
After the game, Sussex’s head coach, Paul Farbrace, disclosed that Ollie Robinson had been complaining of a sore left ankle. To ascertain the severity of the injury, Robinson will be sent for a scan on Monday.
The news of Robinson’s discomfort will worry Ben Stokes, the Test captain, who had previously stated his desire to have eight fit seamers to take on Australia. England’s first Test of the summer against Ireland begins in 12 days, and James Anderson is already dealing with a “minor groin strain” less than a month out from the Ashes.
“He’s got a sore ankle and he’ll be scanned on Monday to see how bad it is,” Farbrace said. “We knew it was sore yesterday and that’s why we got one spell out of him this morning. Once he was off that was it for the day.
“It was precautionary, there was no point in making it worse. We knew that he was sore. It’s walking more than anything, it’s not actually the running part that makes him sore. It’s a joint decision between our medical team and the England medical team, we’ve got a good relationship. It’s the right thing to do, we need to find out and Oliver wants to find out what’s going on with the ankle and why it’s so sore.”
The ECB has carefully controlled Robinson’s workload because he needed a cortisone treatment in his back before making his first appearance of the season. He has participated in three of Sussex’s six games thus far, and two weeks ago, he recorded a career-high match total of 14 for 117 against Worcestershire.
In the first innings, Glamorgan was destroyed thanks in large part to his 4 for 29, which included the wicket of Labuschagne for just 1, but on Saturday, after bowling an eight-over session during which Carson was dropped, he left the field and did not come back.
There is still a poll on the Sussex YouTube channel asking how many wickets Robinson will take in a day. The choices are 2, 3, 4, or 5+.
The identity of Glamorgan’s saviors was one area where there was far greater confidence. In place of the hampered David Lloyd, Carlson led his team to victory with a strong, unbeaten 187, while Labuschagne did Labuschagne things to keep them from suffering a three-day loss.
At the end, Glamorgan had a 141-run advantage with five wickets still in play. It will be difficult to win at Hove for the first time since 1975, but two more sessions of batting on the increasingly lifeless surface would almost probably result in an unexpected tie.
With nine wickets remaining and 240 runs in arrears at the start of the day, Glamorgan had a difficult task ahead of them after losing two wickets in the space of two deliveries. Perhaps things would have gone very differently if James Coles had held a low catch at third slip when Carson was on 3.
If Glamorgan had been 136 for 4, Robinson would have taken a wicket halfway through his spell, and Sussex had been sufficiently inspired to keep chipping away and then roll through with the second new ball during the afternoon, Glamorgan would have been in a better position.
Carlson gave a much harder chance when he reached 21, moving forward to sting Jack Carson with a lofted drive that flew for four. However, after that, he was more or less impregnable as he and Labuschagne spent the afternoon putting together a stand of Brobdingnagian proportions, erasing the contributions of Viv Richards and Tony Cottey from the records books for Glamorgan’s highest fourth-wicket stand against Sussex.
The two began cautiously, seeing off Robinson, and then began to put the pressure back on the Sussex attack. It took Carlson only 49 deliveries to score his third century of the summer, which was secured with a tuck into the leg side for three off Tom Haines.
Carlson was the more fluid batsman, hitting his fifty with a reverse-sweep off 78 deliveries. His jubilation was also more jubilant; the bat swirled around like a scimitar before Carlson’s helmet was taken off to reveal a contented smile hidden beneath his bristly mustache.
The fact that Glamorgan lost the game was obviously unimportant to Labuschagne, who appeared to be focused solely on two things: salvaging the match for Glamorgan and facing as many balls as he could in his penultimate innings before joining Australia for their World Test Championship and Ashes campaign.
Soon after blasting Carson into the Cow Corner hospitality area, he was struck by Karvelas with a blow to the bottom hand. He quickly recovered, though, and after a quick visit from the physio, reached fifty off 121 balls with another six, this time from Coles.
The only chance he came close to during an innings that lasted more than five hours was when he edged Carson away from the diving Steven Smith while on 73. Labuschagne also picked up the pace to reach his hundred from 185 balls with back-to-back boundaries against Fynn Hudson-Prentice.
A group of supporters in the Sharks Stand began yelling “Oh Glammy, Glammy!” with an increasingly loud Australian accent almost every time Labuschagne made a major contribution. The Marnus Fan Club were waving their shirts over their heads as their hero strolled back to cheers from all four corners of the pitch by the time, he missed one that slipped on straight from Coles to be lbw for 138 from 244 balls.
At that point, the day’s expectations had been entirely turned around. Zain-ul-Hassain’s second clean debut innings came to an end when he dragged his back foot out of the crease while trying to sweep Carson in the fourth over of the morning.
When one turned into Sam Northeast at the Maison Derrière, he came and went like Abe Simpson, but that was Sussex’s only success for over 65 footslogging overs as Labuschagne and Carlson tightened the screws. Although Glamorgan would return in the morning seeking to complete their epic escape, Coles’ two wickets in the final session kept Sussex intrigued.