Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie praised the performance of Gary Ballance after his side’s rain-affected draw took them a step closer towards retaining the County Championship.
Ballance’s 165 – his highest score of the season – was one of four centuries made at Hove as the match against Sussex ended in a draw after rain washed out the final day.
It was Ballance’s highest score since he made 122 against West Indies in April. Ballance was dropped after playing in the first two Ashes Tests but will be desperate to finish the domestic season strongly and regain his place for England’s winter assignments against Pakistan and South Africa.
Gillespie said: “Without a doubt he is getting back to his best. He has a simple game plan but when he is getting into the ball and hitting it past the bowler as he did here it shows he is in good form. I thought his driving down the ground was top class.
“He was bitterly disappointed to lose his England place but he has responded in the best fashion possible which is to go back to his county, score runs and show what he is which is a very fine player.”
Gillespie had no complaints about the batsmen-friendly wicket prepared by Sussex which saw the home side make their highest total of the season at Hove.
He added: “The pitch flattened out quit quickly and became a very good surface to bat on. It was a challenge for the bowlers on both sides once the shine was off the ball.
“Possibly it’s a compliment to our team that Sussex prepared a pitch like that but we can’t control how the opposition play. Sussex felt this was the best way to win the game. They had four seamers, so they felt that seam would play a big role and I thought bowlers who bowled a disciplined line and length were a threat throughout.”
“I was very pleased with our bowling until the final session on the third day," Gillespie added.
“Sussex played aggressively but you could tell that we got away from out plan a bit because of the amount of runs they scored square of the wicket that we bowled too short and too wide. We didn’t adapt and got away from our focus.
“But overall we will take the points from a rain-affected game. We don’t want to look too far ahead than our next challenge, which after the Royal London quarter-final on Thursday is Somerset at home which will be a good tussle.”
The draw lifted Sussex out of the bottom two ahead of a crucial game against fellow strugglers Worcestershire at New Road, starting next Tuesday.
Assistant Coach Mark Davis said: “There were a lot of positives for us. Three of our batsmen got hundreds and we now have a good week to prepare for a big game against Worcestershire.”