Worcestershire v Sussex, New Road, 3rd day May 18, 2012

Nash and Joyce back in business

Sussex 315 (Nash 84) and 143 for 0 (Joyce 70*, Nash 69*) lead Worcestershire 259 (Ali 85) by 199 runs

Chris Nash and Ed Joyce turned the clock back 12 months with an unbroken stand of 143 before the weather halted a Sussex charge against Worcestershire in the Division One match at New Road.

Their first century partnership in a year stretched their team's lead to a commanding 199 but bad light and light rain wiped out the final session and put declaration plans on hold until the last day.

It was a timely resurgence by a pair who lost some of their momentum after starting last season with five three-figure stands, culminating in a stand of 201 in a successful run chase against Somerset at Hove on May 19. Nash has not scored a century since reaching 120 in that match but the trip to Worcester for his 100th appearance in first-class cricket has been highly profitable so far with scores of 84 and 69 not out.

Apart from a couple of sketchy shots, notably a top-edged cut parried by Michael Klinger at third slip, Nash played himself into a good rhythm. His driving was particularly impressive with 11 fours before the umpires took the players off at 3.00pm.

In cruising to 70 from 118 balls, Joyce was a different player from the one who laboured for more than an hour over 6 runs in the first innings. His timing was spot-on from the outset, with nothing better than an effortless pull for six off David Lucas, and he also notched eight other boundaries.

For Worcestershire, the third day, albeit cut short by 44 overs, became increasingly uncomfortable. Last year they stayed in Division One despite losing their first six matches. This year there has been an improvement, with three draws so far, but finding a way to win games will be key to their survival battle.

Any hopes they had of matching Sussex's first innings total of 315 evaporated on the third morning with their dismissal for 259 after losing their last three wickets for the addition of 28 runs. Jack Shantry managed to hold out with 22 not out in his first Championship knock of the season but there was nothing substantial from his partners.

Ben Scott was leg-before to Jimmy Anyon, Lucas was run out by Nash's quick reactions at short leg and Richard Jones scooped up a catch to mid-on as Monty Panesar completed a return of 3 for 65 in 23 overs. In terms of economy Steve Magoffin had the best figures after an immaculate performance in bowling 30 overs for his 2 for 35.