Cricket

Alfonso Thomas takes four wickets in four balls as Somerset win

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Day three of the division one County Championship clash between Somerset and Sussex at Taunton was a day to remember for Somerset seamer Alfonso Thomas as he
captured four wickets in four balls to leave Sussex reeling, and placed his side in the ascendency.

Both sides resumed day three with the game in the balance but Thomas' efforts tipped the balance and allowed Somerset to chase down victory before the close of play.

Sussex trailed by 75 runs from the first innings, despite a fourth Championship
century of the season from Irishman Ed Joyce, had to face an emphatic defeat.

South African Thomas began his great spell of bowling with the score on 33-0 in Sussex's second innings. The 37-year-old  bowled Jame Anyon, had Rory Hamilton-Brown adjudged lbw and then had Ed Joyce caught behind to complete his hat-trick. However, he was then made to wait to complete his ultimate achievement.

Peter Trego bowled the next over for Somerset and managed to dismiss Chris Nash but
then it was Thomas' chance once again as he returned to complete his historic wicket-haul. WIth his first delivery of his next over Thomas bowled Matt Machan to leave Sussex on 33-5, the visitors having lost five wickets in just 10 balls. Unfortunately Thomas could not then be the first bowler to achieve five wickets in five balls in first-class cricket as Ben Brown survived his next delivery.

Thomas is the first player to achieve four wickets in four balls in the County Championship since 2000 when Gary Butcher, for Surrey against Derbyshire.

Charl Willoughby was the last South African to achieve the feat in a first-class match, for Cape Cobras against Dolphins at Durban during the 2005-06 season.

This rare achievement has now been achieved just 38 times in first-class cricket - the
first in 1862, the most recent in 2011, when Neil Wagner did it for Otago against Wellington in New Zealand.

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