Yorkshire had the better of a wicket-ladened opening day against league leaders Sussex at Hove in their latest Vitality County Championship fixture – their sixth of the summer so far. 

George Hill and Ben Coad shared seven wickets between them either side of lunch as Sussex, invited to bat on a green-tinged pitch, were bowled for 150 inside 45 overs before the visitors responded .

Hill claimed 4-22 from 10 overs at the 1st Central County Ground and Coad 3-37 from 16 as Yorkshire went in to their sixth match of the summer  with an all-seam attack. Jordan Thompson claimed two wickets and Dom Leech the other.

Yorkshire then replied with 176-7 from 49 overs, with Joe Root top-scoring with a calming 67 off 88 balls to help secure a lead of 26 and counting.

Leech, playing his first match of the season, claimed the prize wicket of Indian Test batter Cheteshwar Pujara, the former Yorkshire overseas player.

Sussex’s first innings was wrapped up inside the first half of a day played out largely under sunny skies. Though the cloud came in after tea. 

There was only one half-century stand in the day – 58 inside 13 overs accrued by Root and Jonny Tattersall for the fifth sixth wicket from 101-5 after tea.

Adam Lyth

Picture by John Heald. Adam Lyth helps George Hill remove Tom Haines with a catch at second slip.

Only five batters through the day reached 20, including Root, James Wharton (21), Tattersall (26) and Sussex pair Tom Haines and James Coles.

The visitors now have a great chance to press on for a victory over the next three days. Matthew Revis and Thompson, unbeaten overnight on nought and nine respectively, will bid to continue the good work tomorrow morning. 

Yorkshire came into this fixture with four changes to the team which drew against Glamorgan at Headingley the week before last. Out went Bess, Brook, Fisher and Moriarty. In their place came Hill, Leech, Thompson and Wharton.

Sussex started brightly as Yorkshire took a bit of time to settle, with the hosts reaching 42-0 after six overs. 

At that point, Sussex would have been horrified to learn that opener Haines and middle order batter Coles, with 31 and 38 respectively, would be the only players to make it to 20.

After that sticky first six overs, Yorkshire were superb with the ball. They also caught well. Eight wickets fell to catches behind the wicket, either to wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall or to the slips. 

As runs came early for Sussex, six boundaries came in an eight-ball period. 

Picture by John Heald. Joe Root drives en-route to a crucial half-century.

But seam, allied to good pace and carry off the surface, proved their undoing. 

Coad, bowling from Cromwell Road End, made the initial breakthrough when he had Tom Clark caught at first slip by Root – 42-1 in the seventh – before Hill struck twice in his first two overs from the Sea End courtesy of slip catches.

He had another Tom Haines caught at second slip by Adam Lyth and Tom Alsop caught at third by Bean, as the score fell to 61-3 in the 14th. The Bean catch, low down to his left, was the best of them as three left-handers departed. 

From there, wickets fell at a steady flow all day in front a crowd of around 1,200-1,300.

Leech had Pujara, for 14, well caught by Jonny Tattersall tumbling away to his right – 91-4 – before Coad trapped home captain John Simpson lbw just after lunch. 

At that stage, the Martlets were 117-5 in the 31st over.

Coad struck again shortly afterwards when Fynn Hudson-Prentice was caught behind before Danny Lamb edged Hill to Bean at third slip.

Ben Coad

Picture by John Heald. Talismanic seamer Ben Coad was excellent again today.

Lamb was the first of two wickets to fall with the score on 136, with Jack Carson edging Hill behind to Tattersall as the eighth wicket to fall.

Ollie Robinson whipped Thompson for six over square-leg at the start of the 43rd over, only to edge to Lyth at second slip two balls later (149-9).

And when Coles miscued the same bowler to mid-on in search of quick runs as he ran out of partners, table-toppers Sussex were under severe pressure.

But they hit back through to tea-time, where Yorkshire reached at 59-4 in the 17th over, meaning 10 wickets in all had fallen in the afternoon session. 

Left-arm seamer Sean Hunt claimed the first two wickets to fall, with Bean caught at second slip and Lyth at third, leaving Yorkshire 31-2 after eight overs.

Lyth was caught at slip having aimed an expansive drive – a difference from a number of others dismissals when batters were more tentative.

Like Lyth, captain Shan Masood fell for 14 and was caught at third slip, England’s Robinson getting in on the wicket-taking act. And in the final over of the session, Hill edged Hudson-Prentice’s seam to second slip. Yorkshire were four down and still 91 in arrears. 

Dom Leech

Picture by John Heald. Dom Leech claimed the key wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara.

Root and Wharton then ensured a relatively calm start to the evening, sharing 42. 

Both men were understandably cautious in bowler-friendly conditions, with every run feeling like a significant event.

Unfortunately, Wharton’s innings was ended on 21 when he was trapped lbw by a full ball from Hudson-Prentice, leaving the score on 101-5 in the 29th over.

But Root dabbed, deflected, worked and drove his way towards his fourth score above 50 in five Championship appearances this summer. By the time he reached his latest milestone off 63 balls, Yorkshire were 131-5 and trailing by only 19.

Root, who reached 4,000 Championship runs during this innings, fell inside the day’s final 10 overs, trapped lbw playing back to the medium pace of Haines – 159-6 in the 42nd over.

Tattersall then edged Hunt to third slip just before close – 167-7 in the 45th – to give Sussex a late boost. But even a lead of 17 felt significant.

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