Warwickshire v Sussex, Edgbaston, 1st day July 20, 2011

Panesar shines in tough battle

Warwickshire 261 for 6 v Sussex

Former Surrey batsman Laurie Evans made his first half-century in the County Championship as Warwickshire reached 261 for 6 on a hard-fought first day against Sussex at Edgbaston.

Evans, who had not gone beyond 15 in eight previous innings in the four-day competition, made 52 and shared a partnership of 87 in 34 overs with Ireland captain William Porterfield.

James Anyon's new-ball burst of 2 for 17 put Sussex in charge early in the day and Monty Panesar later pegged Warwickshire back by taking 3 for 56 in 32 consecutive overs from the new pavilion end.

Michael Yardy, leading Sussex in the Championship for the first time in seven weeks, guessed that some dampness in the pitch would assist his bowlers when he decided to field first on winning the toss. Former Warwickshire seamer Anyon justified the decision in a consistently threatening seven-over stint in which he dismissed the openers in 22 deliveries.

Wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd held two catches, the first when Anyon swung one away from Varun Chopra and the second when Ian Westwood was beaten outside the off stump by pace and bounce. Rana Naved bowled a longer spell without causing as many problems but Sussex wasted a couple of opportunities to sustain their early breakthrough.

Luke Wells at backward point got a hand to a fierce chance when Porterfield, on 12, thrashed at a ball from Anyon, and Evans, on 11, was dropped in the slips off Naved. The cost stacked up as Porterfield got away with several edges to third man, but the return of the impressive Anyon unseated the left hander after he had reached his fifth championship half-century of the season.

Having hit seven boundaries from 118 balls, he went for 66 when Yardy held a neat catch at first slip. Evans, meanwhile, came through a difficult start and began to play some attractive shots in front of the wicket with a half-a-dozen fours in completing 50 from 123 balls.

By then Panesar had settled into an excellent spell and he eventually secured a deserved first wicket when Evans was given out leg-before as he played back.

The day lapsed into an attritional phase as Jim Troughton and Tim Ambrose managed only five boundaries between them in a stand of 57 which Panesar ended when Troughton (26) prodded to silly point.

Rikki Clarke quickly became a second lbw victim for the spinner but Ambrose, unbeaten on 44 after batting for 48 overs, and Chris Woakes, dropped twice in reaching 45 not out, added 69, mostly against the second new ball before Panesar made a brief re-appearance.