A determined bowling performance led by Ben Coad ensured that Yorkshire are very much in the hunt for a first Vitality County Championship win of the season as their fast-moving fixture at the 1st Central County Ground, Hove reached its halfway stage.

While seventeen wickets fell on day one, day two wasn’t anywhere near as hectic.  But the contest still advanced – and in Yorkshire’s favour thanks largely to three wickets for talismanic new ball seamer Coad, whose 3-46 from 18.2 overs limited the hosts to 194-7 from 77.5 overs in their second innings, a lead of 149

However, Sussex will have high hopes of a win too because Yorkshire’s advantage is not an overwhelming one on a pitch which is far from a batting paradise, despite it easing somewhat today. 

And Yorkshire will hope they will have use of Coad tomorrow after he left the field late in the day with a stiff back. 

Yorkshire, replying to a first-innings 150 all out, were bowled out for 195 having started the day on 176-7 at 11.45am following some light morning rain.

Left-arm seamer Sean Hunt finished with a career best 4-64.

While Coad led the way, he wasn’t the only Yorkshire bowler to impress even though their catching could have been better. A couple went down, including top-scorer Tom Alsop on 58 in the slips. He finished the day unbeaten on 77.

Ben Coad

Picture by John Heald. Ben Coad celebrates one of his three wickets today.

Jordan Thompson struck twice and George Hill and Dom Leech once apiece. 

Yorkshire were particularly good after tea, when they struck four times and strangled the scoring rate.

Sussex’s second innings started ideally as far as Yorkshire were concerned, the hosts slipping to 6-2 in three overs, a deficit of 39.

Tom Haines miscued a pull at Thompson and skied a catch to Shan Masood, running in from mid-off. 

Tom Clark, the second of Sussex’s three left-handed Toms at the top of their order, then miscued a drive at Coad to cover, where Matthew Revis took the easiest of catches.

In the opening over after lunch, what felt like a key moment went Sussex’s way, as Cheteshwar Pujara – on six – fended at a nasty rising delivery from Hill and saw it landed just short of a sprawling James Wharton at short-leg. That would have left the score at 25-3.

As it was, Indian Test star Pujara and Alsop were able to steady the ship and take their side into the lead with a 74-run partnership.

Picture by John Heald. Jordan Thompson almost gets Cheteshwar Pujara.

But, thankfully, Pujara’s stay wasn’t overly damaging as he was trapped lbw pushing forwards at Leech for 33, leaving the score at 80-3 in the 27th.  

Alsop then made the most of a life on 39 when he was bowled shouldering arms to a Leech no ball. That would have left Sussex at 85-3, but he went on to post a fifty off 123 balls just before tea, where the hosts reached at 123-3 with a lead of 78.

Yorkshire’s bowlers were always likely to have to work much harder for their wickets in the second innings than they had to in the first. But that’s exactly what they did, and rewards came, despite letting a few chances go by such as the Leech no ball.

They struck twice in the early stages of the evening through Hill and then Coad, leaving the score at 140-5 – a home lead of 95.

Hill had James Coles caught at mid-wicket off a top-edged pull before Coad had Sussex captain John Simpson caught at first slip by Joe Root, who by this time had himself bowled five maidens in seven overs of off-spin.

The drying up of the scoreboard was a key factor in Yorkshire’s evening success. 

Picture by John Heald. Success for Jordan Thompson did follow.

In the first 20 overs of the evening, Sussex were limited to only 33 runs and lost three wickets in that time (156-6). Yorkshire were excellent, Sussex went into their shell.

Thompson claimed that sixth wicket when Fynn Hudson-Prentice was lbw shouldering arms before Coad trapped Danny Lamb lbw for a duck as the score slipped to 160-7, a home lead of 115.

Unfortunately, Coad only bowled four more balls before having to leave the field in his following over, and Sussex saw out the rest of the day to give their supporters hope of a come-from-behind win. Bad light ended play with just under five overs remaining at 6.45pm.

Earlier, following a 45-minute delay because of light rain, Yorkshire’s first innings was wrapped inside 7.3 overs this morning, the visitors losing three wickets for the addition of 19 runs. 

Robinson claimed two of them, Thompson and Leech bowled in contrasting fashion, and Hunt the other as he had Coad caught and bowled.

Thompson fell to a nasty delivery which rose from a good length, struck him on the back elbow and cannoned back onto the stumps.

After Coad fell, Leech was bowled shouldering arms to end the innings four short of the 200-mark.

Dom Leech

Picture by John Heald. A frustrated Dom Leech after bowling Tom Alsop with a no ball.

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