Goodwin's 344 defies sickness

Murray Goodwin has revealed how he climbed out of his sick bed to break his own record for the highest score in Sussex’s history.

Goodwin has been suffering from a virus since Sussex’s Twenty20 Cup triumph at Edgbaston last Saturday and spent the day before the Championship game got underway at Taunton in bed. And he was nearly heading back there on the first day only to be dropped on nought by Somerset wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter.

After the season he has endured Goodwin was entitled to feel that luck was finally going his way and how he made the most of it. When he walked off at tea on the second day he had scored 344 not out, nine more than he made when he broke the Sussex batting record on the day they won the Championship for the first time in 2003.

It was an outstanding physical effort considering how poorly he felt. While the Somerset team fielded in shirt sleeves, Goodwin called for an extra layer halfway through his innings so he could sweat it out.
By the end, though, the only people perspiring were the hapless Somerset bowlers and the Sussex scorer Mike Charman as various county records were ticked off.

Sussex’s 742-5 was the highest total in their history while Goodwin’s contribution, which included 43 fours and six sixes, has only been bettered twice in the history of the Championship. Two of his team-mates, Chris Nash (157) and Carl Hopkinson (132) also helped themselves to career-bests.

As he clutched a pint of Guinness, which was clearly helping the recovery process, Goodwin said: “I have been really struggling for a few days. I have been taking a lot of medication and have been staying in bed. I was lucky to get out there on Wednesday because I was that crook.

“I still feel rubbish but after scoring your highest score you have to have a little celebration.” Goodwin went into the game with just 282 runs and a Championship average of 16.58 but he maintained that he always thought he would come good this season.

He said: “I have been hitting the ball well and sometimes you don’t get the scores you deserve considering the amount of practice that you put in. I kept saying to the team and myself that someone will pay one day.”
While the big contingent of Sussex fans enjoyed one of those “I was there” days, Goodwin was scathing about the Taunton pitch and the inability of groundsman Phil Frost to produce a surface which promoted an equal contest between bat and ball.

“It’s a bowlers’ nightmare,” said Goodwin. “It is so flat and slow and with short boundaries you would have to be bat extremely badly to be bowled out twice.”

In a season when batsmen have generally held sway up and down the country, surely it is time for umpires to have the power to deduct points for pitches that are too weighted in favour of the bat.

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