Sussex v Lancashire, Hove, 1st day April 26, 2011

Sussex hit back after Brown continues form

Lancashire 322 for 6 v Sussex

Karl Brown continued his liking for the Sussex attack by top scoring with 88 as Lancashire took control on the first day of the County Championship encounter at Hove.

Lancashire won their meeting at Liverpool earlier this month by an innings and today moved into a decent position to continue their unbeaten start to the season as Brown, who made his maiden Championship century in that game, helped his side reached 322 for 6 at stumps.

It was a tough day for the Sussex bowlers on a sluggish pitch until Rana Naved-ul-Hasan took two wickets in four balls in the penultimate over. A short boundary on the pavilion side gave the hosts little room for error and, although Monty Panesar again bowled accurately, the seam attack often lacked consistency and also gifted Lancashire 36 runs through 18 no balls - including three in successive deliveries from Naved-ul-Hasan.

Openers Paul Horton and Stephen Moore justified skipper Glen Chapple's decision to bat first by posting a stand of 129 in 36.1 overs - Lancashire's best opening partnership since September 2008. Their progress before lunch was untroubled apart from a ball in his first over by left-armer Naved Arif which Horton slashed just wide of Ben Brown at second slip.

Panesar, who has already taken 11 wickets this season, was introduced into the attack after just 75 minutes by acting captain Murray Goodwin and the left-arm spinner at least brought some control to proceedings.

The opening stand was finally broken 20 minutes after lunch when Luke Wright, playing for the first time this season following a knee injury, nipped one back off the seam to trap Moore leg before wicket for 49.

Horton followed in the 45th over and would have been furious with a soft dismissal. Having batted for nearly three hours and hit 13 fours in his 78 he mis-timed a pull at Naved-ul-Hasan and the ball looped off the top edge to slip where Ed Joyce took a simple catch.

Bat was soon dominating ball again, though, and Sussex needed a great bit of fielding by Ben Brown to prise out Mark Chilton for 32 after he and Brown had added 82 in 22 overs for the third wicket. Chilton was sent back by his partner at the non-striker's end after pushing the ball to Brown and failed to beat his direct hit from mid-wicket.

The persevering Panesar was finally rewarded in his 24th over, but first after switching ends, when Steven Croft's ill-judged reverse sweep was comfortably taken by Brown for four.

At 266 for four there was a glimmer of hope for Sussex, who took the new ball straight away, but Brown added 55 with another 20-year-old, Luke Procter, and was on course for another hundred against Sussex when he was well caught low down at slip by Joyce for 88 off 161 balls, including 11 fours.

Nightwatchman Gary Keedy was caught behind three balls later without scoring to give Naved-ul-Hasan his third wicket, but it was Lancashire's day.