A slow Hove pitch which encouraged Sussex to play leg-spinner Will Beer for the first time in a four-day match for nearly three years proved hard work for stroke players but Rudolph defied a persistent attack to reach 76 at stumps with Glamorgan on 291 for 7, having won the toss.
Mark Davis, the Sussex coach, said: “The pitch is a bit like the ones I used to play on at Hove, quite low and slow so I think it’s been a good day for us, we hung in there.
“It was a bit damp at the start and seamed around for a session and half but then it flattened out. It’s not a pitch to have an ego on - you had to play straight and late and that’s what Jacques Rudolph did for Glamorgan, he showed all his experience.
“It’s good to get Will Beer in the team. To win a game you have to take 20 wickets and we see playing two spinners as part of a five-man attack as an aggressive move. Will has been bowling a bit quicker in practice and in the second team with the red ball and deserves this chance.”
Australian Nick Selman made his maiden Championship 50 in only his second appearance while Beer had reason to celebrate too when he picked up his first wicket in the competition at Hove, eight years after making his debut for the county.
But it proved to be a day suited to someone with Rudolph’s phlegmatic temperament. The South African hardly played a false shot in more than three-and-a-half hours at the crease. So far he has faced 168 balls and hit eight fours.
Sussex kept plugging away and they clearly enjoyed Beer’s big moment when he ended a stand of 61 for the fourth wicket between Aneurin Donald and Rudolph by bowling Donald (29) off an inside edge as he shaped to cut in what is only Beer’s tenth first-class match.
Selman had earlier shared stands of 41 with Mark Wallace (20) and 65 with Will Bragg (29) as Sussex enjoyed just one success before lunch when Wallace was squared up by Stuart Whittingham and edged behind.
Selman was dropped on 25 by Whittingham as he dived forward at long leg but after lunch Whittingham defeated Selman’s forward push with a nip-backer after he’d made 52 (109 balls, 6 fours) before Bragg was smartly taken at second slip by Chris Nash.
Sussex employed four spinners and the quartet bowled a third of their overs but it was their seamers who made further inroads when they took the new ball.
Magoffin took his second wicket with his first delivery with it as David Lloyd was lbw playing down the wrong line after contributing 37 to a fifth wicket stand of 69 in 23 overs with Rudolph.
Ajmal Shahzad picked up belated reward when Graham Wagg (7) edged a drive to slip before Craig Meschede top-edged a hook off Magoffin and was caught at second slip for a duck. But debutant Owen Thomas hooked Magoffin for six in his unbeaten 15 as Glamorgan avoided further loss before the close.
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