Essex fight back on first day
PUBLISHED: 19:00 17 April 2016
PA/Press Association Images
Captain makes breakthrough with ball
Essex fought back in the field at Sussex, after seeing the home side’s opening pair put on a big stand at Hove.
Sussex won the toss and chose to bat first under a cloudless blue sky as the two sides met at Hove for the first time since 1997.
And there was a short ceremony before play in memory of Matthew Hobden, who died in January, with all Sussex players wearing shirts with Hobden 19 for the first day.
Openers Chris Nash and Ed Joyce made serene progress through the first 45 minutes of action to post a half-century stand, although Joyce had a let-off in the seventh over when he was put down by a diving Jesse Ryder at third slip off the bowling of former Oaks Park pupil Jamie Porter.
And Essex failed to find a breakthrough before lunch, despite captin Ryan ten Doeschate using six different bowlers, as the home side reached 112-0, with Nash unbeaten on 76 and Joyce 32 not out.
Nash went on to reach his century from just 113 balls after the restart, having hit 18 boundaries, and Joyce completed a more sedate half-century of his own as their partnership reached 188.
The visitors had their first success, though, when ten Doeschate brought himself into the attack and struck with his third ball as he induced Joyce to edge to Wanstead old boy James Foster and fell for 61, from 163 balls.
And one quickly became two as ten Doeschate trapped Nash leg before two balls later to end his innings on 119, from 144 balls, after hitting 21 fours.
New Zealand international Ross Taylor reached 12 before edging a ball from the returning Graham Napier through to Foster, meaning Sussex had lost three wickets in five overs for 28 runs as Essex fought back.
But the hosts recovered to reach tea without further loss, going into the break on 248-3.
Tom Westley struck with the second ball of the final session, though, to hold on to a leading edge from Matt Machan off his own bowling and Napier dismissed Sussex captain Ben Brown fifth ball without scoring.
Westley claimed his second victim in Luke Wells to leave the hosts 289-6, but Oliver Robinson hit nine fours in an entertaining 51 from 73 balls before falling to Napier.
Ravi Bopara then got in on the act to bowl George Garton and leave Sussex 343-8, but Ajmal Shahzad got support from Danny Briggs to see them through to the close.
Essex will hope to wrap up the innings quickly on the second morning, before getting the chance to put some runs on the board themselves.
Sussex 355-8: Nash 119; Joyce 61; Machan 35; Taylor 12; Wells 25; Brown 0; Robinson 51; Shahzad 24*; Garton 1; Briggs 6*; Porter 19-2-78-0; Dixon 12-1-66-0; Ryder 17-2-51-0; Napier 23-7-61-3; Bopara 8-1-38-1; Westley 10-6-20-2; ten Doeschate 7-0-34-2.
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