It was hard to see who had the biggest smile at the end of an absorbing day as Jack Carson and Jamie Atkins walked off the outfield at The 1st Central County Ground.
Young off-spinner Carson continued his impressive start to the season with four wickets to lead a strong Sussex recovery against Lancashire in the LV=Insurance County Championship Group 3 match.
The 20-year-old from Northern Ireland finished the second day with four for 50 from 28 overs as Lancashire reached 193 for six in reply to Sussex’s 328, having been 137 for one.
Carson now has 15 wickets this season but 18-year-old debutant Atkins will have enjoyed the day just as much. He may have had a touch of good fortune when Dane Vilas played and the ball rattled into his off stump.
But claiming the Lancashire skipper's wicket for a duck three weeks after he'd taken 189 off the Sussex attack at Old Trafford was still worthy of the exuberant celebration which followed and a deserved reward for the 6ft 6in fast bowler, whose 15 overs cost just 27 runs.
Lancashire openers Alex Davies and Keaton Jennings had put on 93 with few alarms with Jennings passing 50 for the first time this season, but Carson broke through in his fifth over when a quicker ball deceived Davies (34) who chopped on trying to cut after nearly three hours at the crease.
Jennings had been missed at slip by Stiaan van Zyl on 53 off the luckless George Garton but it wasn’t expensive. He added just seven more before edging Carson to slip off a delivery which turned just enough out of the rough.
That left Lancashire 137 for two, but they then lost four wickets for the addition of just seven runs. Stuart Meaker was rewarded for an excellent spell down the slope when Luke Wells (28), on his first return to the county where he spent ten seasons, followed one and was caught behind.
Carson’s third victim was Steven Croft (5), who was athletically caught off bat and pad by wicketkeeper Ben Brown diving forward, and it was 151 for five when Atkins enjoyed his big moment.
Liam Livingstone’s first Championship innings of the season lasted just four balls as Aaron Thomason took a juggling catch at short leg to give the irrepressible Carson his fourth wicket and Lancashire had lost five for 24 runs in 8.5 overs. Josh Bohannon and Danny Lamb negotiated 23 overs to stumps but their side still trail by 135.
Five of the seven bowlers used by Sussex finished the day with economy rates below two runs per over. None of them went at more than three an over.
Earlier, Sussex added just six runs to their overnight 317 for seven before being dismissed for 323 with Lamb taking the last three wickets. He bowled Carson (13) via an inside edge, ran out Henry Crocombe (5) by deflecting the ball onto the stumps as Crocombe backed up before Garton (35) was last out, caught at fine leg. Lamb finished with three for 59 and Tom Bailey took three for 69 before Lancashire’s reply was held up by rain which forced a 40-minute delay.
Sussex's debutant Jamie Atkins said, "I knew on Tuesday I was going to make my debut and it was just a case then of making sure that physically and mentally I was right. It's a great environment to come into because everyone is so supportive and I have played in the Sussex pathway with guys like Henry Crocombe and Jack Carson. I don't think Henry or I expected to be opening the bowling for Sussex in a Championship game when we were in the under-13s together!
"I can't really put into words what it was like to get my first wicket, especially as it was such an important one as Dane Vilas, their captain. I was so chuffed as my celebrations probably showed."
Lancashire opener Keaton Jennings summed up his side's day at the close. "We are probably slightly behind the eight ball and it will be important to get through the new ball tomorrow. I was disappointed with myself because I was aiming to get a big score to help push the game forward. Wickets have fallen in clumps which might be the nature of the surface but there are still two days left and a lot of cricket to be played. I feel like I have played nicely without getting a score so it's nice to get 60 but I am kicking myself for not having gone on and made a big score."
Watch all of the highlights from day two here: