At the start of this round of games, no team in either division had fewer batting points than Sussex but their middle-order burst collectively into form as the home side’s decision to prepare a slow pitch backfired spectacularly.
It was a tale of sun-soaked midsummer misery for Warwickshire as four batsmen plundered centuries.
Chris Nash (121, 203 balls, 14 fours, one six) and Luke Wright (110, 204 balls, 13 fours, one six) laid a platform on which Ben Brown and Ashar Zaidi ruthlessly built. Brown (an unbeaten 119, 150 balls, eight fours, one six) and Zaidi (106, 149 balls, 13 fours) added 191, a Sussex sixth-wicket record against Warwickshire which also took the team to their best total against the Bears, surpassing 562 at Horsham in 2004.
The runfest left Warwickshire contemplating a follow-on figure of 452 and that looked a long way away when Steve Magoffin took two wickets in his first 20 balls to have them 14 for two.
Warwickshire closed on 62 for three after Luke Wells trapped Ian Westwood lbw just before the close. They need Jonathan Trott, a habitual plunderer of Sussex over the years, to bat for a long time tomorrow.
After Sussex resumed this morning on 280 for three, Nash and Wright extended their partnership to 169 before the former charged at Jeetan Patel and was stumped. Wright’s excellent innings, watchful on the first evening then more aggressive, ended when he played on to Patel.
If the home side thought removing those century-makers would conclude their punishment they were mistaken. During the afternoon session Sussex added 146 without loss on a pitch offering no encouragement to the seamers and only the slowest turn. Warwickshire’s four spinners toiled through 112.4 overs for just four wickets for 374 runs.
Zaidi finally perished when he became Laurie Evans’s second victim in first-class cricket and the declaration soon followed.
Facing significant scoreboard pressure, Warwickshire were hit by a superb opening spell from Magoffin. Varun Chopra, having survived several big appeals, nicked to wicketkeeper Brown and Ateeq Javid edged to second slip to leave the Aussie paceman with 3.2-2-2-2.
Few batsman relish a backs-to-the-wall challenge more than Westwood and Trott and they survived to within three overs of stumps before Westwood fell to a ball which turned sharply.
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