Lancashire ended day one of their Division Two match against Sussex in a strong position after bowling their visitors out for 127 and then making 149 for one in reply.
Matthew Parkinson collected a career-best six for 23 from 15.2 overs and Glenn Maxwell picked up four for 41 on the weekend when he hoped to be playing in a World Cup final. Alex Davies then made 72 before becoming the only Lancashire wicket to fall and Keaton Jennings was unbeaten on 53 at the close, by which time Lancashire were already well on the way to building a winning position.
But this total dominance was in sharp contrast to the first 80 minutes of play, in which Phil Salt and Varun Chopra had put on 77 runs in 19 overs before Sussex lost five wickets for 11 runs in a dramatic collapse on a used pitch.
Any discomfort Salt and Chopra encountered against Lancashire’s seamers had to be balanced against some fluent strokeplay and Sussex had seemed poised to make very good use of winning the toss when Salt, on 40, swept Maxwell to Josh Bohannon at deep square leg.
Chopra was lbw to leg-spinner Parkinson for 32 and one of Sussex’s struggles begun. Maxwell then took a good caught and bowled off Luke Wells, who made five, the same score Stiaan van Zyl had managed when he edged Parkinson to Rob Jones at first slip.
Delray Rawlins was then caught at short leg off Maxwell for a second-ball nought but Ben Brown and David Wiese saw Sussex to lunch by which time their score was 95 for five on a pitch which is giving help to the spinners.
In the over after the resumption Brown was caught at the wicket by Dane Vilas off Maxwell for a single and Parkinson accounted for Wiese and Will Beer, both lbw, in his next over, as Sussex lost three wickets in nine balls.
The leg-spinner also took the last two wickets before Davies and Jennings immediately made good progress in Lancashire’s first innings. The visitors had one chance to make an early breakthrough when Davies was dropped by Wells off Mir Hamza on four but Sussex eventually claimed their only success twelve overs before the close when he was caught at the wicket by Brown off Rawlins after an innings which included 12 fours.
After the day's play, Jason Gillespie said: "There was some decent bowling but it’s certainly not a 120 all out wicket. No way. Lancashire have shown that.
"We were on our way at 77 for no wicket and we were half an hour from putting the onus back on Lancashire. They’d spread the field and then we lost Salty and Varun soon after. The spinners were getting their lines and lengths right and we found ways to get out.
"We spoke this morning about the importance of adapting to conditions but we can have time meeting after team meeting after team meeting, if we’re getting rissoled for a hundred each time, we may as well be banging our heads against a brick wall.
"We know it’s not good enough. It is unacceptable. The brutal reality is that our top six batters are not doing their jobs and they need to find a way to get the job done."
The day had begun on a sombre note when both squads and all spectators had observed a minute’s silence in the memory of the former Lancashire skipper, Jack Bond, who died on Thursday evening, aged 87. The thoughts of everyone at Sussex Cricket are with Jack's family and friends.