Panesar and pace crush Worcestershire
Sussex 420 for 8 dec (Joyce 107, Wright 78, Anyon 56*, Richardson 5-90) beat Worcestershire 162 (Magoffin 4-34) and 141 (Mitchell 48, Panesar 4-23) by an innings and 117 runs
A controlled spell from Monty Panesar, one in which he took 4 for 23, coupled with some aggressive fast bowling by the likes of Steve Magoffin and James Anyon, was altogether too much for Worcestershire. They succumbed in three days - or just about two given the time lost in this match - and had to contend without James Cameron, who was hit on the helmet, returning to the crease. The extra half hour was needed, but not for long.
So what a triumph for Ed Joyce, the new Sussex captain: a century, the correct decision upon winning the toss, and a convincing victory. He knows, and we know, that leadership will not always be so straightforward and - yes - easy as this. All that inconvenienced him was a delayed start, in bizarre circumstances. And even the absence of play in the morning was ultimately of no concern.
That play did not start until after an early lunch was understandable: it rained heavily shortly before the start and nothing was possible before 12.20 pm. At least that should have been the starting time. Yet when the umpires had come out, content that the drainage system had worked properly, and the opening bowlers were marking out their runs and the fielders were moving into position, the water table apparently was such that a damp patch roughly at the start of a medium-pacer's run-up from the Sea End was too squidgy.
So off they all went again, in bright sunshine, to the inevitable slow handclap. Understandable, yes, but not from a public relations perspective. When they did all re-appear at 1.10pm, Magoffin - who, incidentally, compared this bouncy pitch to ones he has experienced at the WACA in Perth - and James Anyon made plain their intention to score quick runs.
And score them they did. Magoffin biffed 41 with five fours until he played on to the persevering Alan Richardson, whereupon Amjad Khan came out and batted in that flailing way which makes field settings an impossible task for the opposing captain. He and Anyon, who finished with an unbeaten 56 including eight fours, not far short of his career best score, added 60 runs before Joyce declared with a lead of 258. He could so easily have continued with the innings.
Worcestershire fared no better than at the start of their first innings. Phil Hughes, undeterred by the steepling bounce, went for his shots in characteristic style, until, that was, he could not contend with lift outside leg stump generated by Anyon and deflected the ball to Ben Brown. Then Vikram Solanki lost his off stump to Magoffin, late on his defensive shot once again.
Nothing seemed more likely at tea than that Worcestershire would be beaten in three days. After all, there were 42 overs still remaining and neither Daryl Mitchell nor Moeen Ali imbued their supporters with any confidence. Indeed, Moeen was dropped at second slip by Mike Yardy on 7 - a difficult attempt, this, for the ball was travelling - and he was to be held there, off Magoffin, after he had added a further 20 runs. This time the now former Sussex captain juggled the ball and caught it as he fell.
Mitchell at least remained at the crease for 52 overs for his 48 runs. At the other end, though, wickets continued to fall, or, in the case of Cameron, a departure caused by having been struck by Magoffin, his eye off the ball. He was not to return. Panesar, bowling with loop and accuracy, had Matt Pardoe picked up at a wide second slip, bowled Gareth Andrew and had Ben Scott taken at silly point. As Joyce left the field, Hove was bathed in its fabled golden glow.