Sussex overcame the loss of England seamer Ollie Robinson to food poisoning and dismissed Leicestershire for just 210 after Foxes' captain Colin Ackermann had chosen to bat first on a good if dry pitch at the Upton Steel County Ground.
Robinson managed just a single over at half pace before leaving the field but the Sussex attack responded impressively to adversity, bowling tightly and taking advantage of the lack of confidence in the Leicestershire batting line-up. Henry Crocombe and Aaron Beard both took three wickets and there were two victims for left-arm spinner Delray Rawlins.
It took a battling display for Leicestershire's lower order to secure a single batting bonus point for the hosts, who in six first innings this season have passed 300 only once. Left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson did strike in the final over, having Sussex opener Tom Alsop caught at slip to give Leicestershire hope going forward.
Ackermann and batter Lewis Hill came back into the Leicestershire side, having recovered from a bruised hand and fractured thumb respectively, while Sussex were without Mohammad Rizwan, due to a family bereavement, and loanee Mason Crane, recalled by home county Hampshire. It mattered not, as the Sussex bowlers tied down Leicestershire openers Hassan Azad and Sam Evans, before Evans pushed at a delivery from Crocombe he might have left, edging a straightforward catch to Tom Clark at second slip.
Sussex skipper Tom Haines was particularly parsimonious, conceding just five runs in his six over spell, but Azad, in partnership with Rishi Patel, looked set to see the home side through until lunch before pushing a delivery from Rawlins into the offside and - having raised an interrogatory hand - being called for a single by Patel. Azad being not the fastest of runners at the best of times, it was to say the least an ill-judged risk, and Alsop, running from slip towards back point, got his throw back to Rawlins in time to beat the Foxes' opener home. Having seen their side record three run-outs in their first innings at Glamorgan last week (including Azad), Leicestershire supporters found another such dismissal hard to credit.
Matters did not improve for the home side after the interval. Patel edged a lifting delivery from Beard to second slip before Ackermann chopped Haines into his stumps to leave Leicestershire on 104-4. Hill tried to force the pace, reaching 35 at a run a ball before top-edging a cut at Crocombe high down to third man, where Archie Lenham held an outstanding catch a foot or so off the ground.
Harry Swindells went quickly, leg before to a Rawlins delivery that hit him on the back leg. The in-form Ben Mike tried to force a Crocombe delivery off the back foot before he had scored, succeeding only to the extent that he edged to first slip: only Wiaan Mulder could have said to have been a little unlucky, the South Africa international caught behind the wicket down the legside trying to help a Rawlins delivery to the boundary.
Parkinson and Chris Wright showed their predecessors what could be achieved, playing straight and putting together a partnership of 49 for the ninth wicket before Wright went leg before to Crocombe. Beuran Hendricks also gave Parkinson worthwhile support before top-edging a pull to be caught at deep square leg. With the pitch looking sure to take spin as the game goes on, the possibility of a positive result in a game involving two sides who have yet to win this season is a strong one.
The ECB has confirmed this morning that Jofra Archer will miss the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with a stress fracture to the lower back.
After the last weekend’s heavy league defeat at Northants, the Sussex VI Sharks (Visually Impaired) were looking to bounce back on Saturday with victory in the cup quarter final on a sunny day at the bea
Sussex’s Community Cricket Foundation has begun an ambitious five-year Urban Plan to grow and develop the game in Crawley, one of the county’s cricket hotspots.