Sussex have third place in Division Two of the LV= Insurance County Championship in their sights after reducing Gloucestershire to 113 for five in their unlikely pursuit of a target of 513 with a day to go at The 1st Central County Ground.
James Coles made his third century of the season in Sussex’s 505 for seven before they made inroads into the Gloucestershire top order, taking five wickets before bad light intervened with 14 overs not bowled.
It looks as if Gloucestershire will end the season without a win while Sussex could climb above Leicestershire, if the Foxes lose to champions Durham after following on.
Left-armer Sean Hunt struck twice with the new ball either side of tea when Chris Dent played around a straight one and Tom Clark snaffled a superb one-handed catch at second slip off Ben Charlesworth’s slash.
Brad Currie had James Bracey held low down at fourth slip before giving way to Fynn Hudson-Prentice, who struck in his first over when Miles Hammond edged a ball which moved off the seam and Ollie Carter dived in front of first slip to take the edge.
Ollie Price and Graeme van Burren rebuilt with a stand of 57 but Hunt returned, switched ends and had Price (22) lbw shouldering arms.
Earlier, Sussex had compiled their biggest total of the season, before declaring with a lead of 512 and leaving themselves more than four sessions to bowl Gloucestershire out.
Coles passed 1,000 first-class runs in his career in making 128 – the third hundred of a breakout season for the 19-year-old. Four of his teammates made half-centuries which meant five Sussex batters had passed fifty in the same innings for the second time this season while Carter scored 49.
It was hard to believe 16 wickets had fallen on the first day on the same pitch at The 1st Central County Ground as Gloucestershire’s attack struggled to make headway, although the persevering Josh Shaw finished with 4 for 82 from 23 overs and was easily the pick of their attack.
Armed with the new ball Shaw broke through when he had Tom Alsop, who had been dropped on 53, superbly caught at short midwicket by Zamen Akhter for 79 after the Sussex captain had added 155 for the fourth wicket with Coles.
Coles was dropped by Akhter at long leg on 94 but otherwise looked completely secure and, after reaching his century, he led the acceleration after lunch, adding 79 with Carter and 62 in just seven overs with Hudson-Prentice.
Coles eventually mistimed a drive to mid-on, having faced 158 balls and hit ten fours and three sixes, to give Shaw his fourth wicket.
Gloucestershire’s suffering was far from over though. Hudson-Prentice, awarded his county cap on Tuesday, smashed 71 off just 35 balls with five sixes including 20 off an over from off-spinner Ollie Price before the declaration came.
It was his ninth fifty of the season and ensured he finished Sussex’s leading scorer with 879 runs, 30 more than Coles.
Report provided by ECB Reporter's Network