Sussex opener Tom Haines made his fourth half-century of the season and shared a stand of 133 with Stiaan van Zyl before Lancashire hit back on the first day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at The 1st Central County Ground.
Haines, 22, took his aggregate for the season to 455 from seven innings with 58 and van Zyl hit 79 as Sussex reached 318 for seven at stumps.
Lancashire’s bowlers fought back well after Haines and van Zyl took the score to 139 for one in the 41st over following the early loss of Aaron Thomason, who was caught on the crease for a duck to give the persevering Tom Bailey the first of three wickets.
But Lancashire were left to regret dropped catches. Four were put down, two by Steven Croft in the slips, with Haines and van Zyl among the beneficiaries.
The second-wicket pair looked to be putting Sussex in a strong position either side of lunch with van Zyl first to his 50, which included a lovely straight six off leg-spinner Matt Parkinson. Haines punished anything wayward and there seemed few demons in the pitch once the new-ball spells of Bailey and Saqib Mahmood had been negotiated.
But Mahmood returned after lunch and broke through in his 11th over when Haines nicked a delivery that held its line before Liam Livingstone, playing his first Championship match of the season after leaving the IPL early, removed van Zyl, who drove loosely to extra cover trying to cut a ball too close to him having hitting 12 boundaries.
Tom Clark (30) was dropped on nought and needed a concussion check after ducking into Danny Lamb’s short ball and losing a piece of his helmet, but he lofted Livingstone for a straight six before Bailey trapped him in front just before tea. He and skipper Ben Brown added 44 for the fourth wicket.
Delray Rawlins contributed 42 to a fifth-wicket stand of 62 in 16 overs with Brown only to undo his hard work by driving loosely to mid-off and giving the expensive Parkinson his first wicket. Brown also looked well set before he was pinned by Lamb for 46.
Bailey picked up his third wicket when he shaped one back in to trap Stuart Meaker (7) in front, but George Garton and Jack Carson put together an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 26 to secure a third batting point for their side.
Reflecting on the day, Haines said, "I think we would have taken that score at the start of play but quite a few of us got starts including myself. We've talked as a squad about one of the top order going big if they get in and that didn't happen, but I still feel we are in the game because there is definitely a bit in the wicket for the bowlers. Personally, I'm obviously pleased with how the season has started. It was a tough challenge today and I didn't feel as comfortable as I have done this season but I thought I came through it well."
Lancashire's Bailey gave his perspective. "It was a hard-fought day. We would have liked to have wrapped up those last three wickets before the close but hopefully we can do that early tomorrow and then the idea then is to bat big. We didn't quite control the run rate at times, especially in the morning, but we had a chat at lunch, said that it hadn't been good enough and regrouped. There is a bit in it for the bowlers but there are runs to be had too."
Watch highlights of day one: