Anderson leads fight in face of Joyce ton
Sussex 341 for 7 (Joyce 137, Nash 67, Cachopa 50) lead Lancashire 320 by 21 runs
Twice Sussex have threatened to sound the death knell on Lancashire's Division One existence and twice Lancashire have stubbornly refused to yield. They lost seven wickets cheaply on the first day, and were not the first side to founder against the batting of Ed Joyce on the second. But still they hang in there, drawing strength from the sight of James Anderson, an England bowler at the end of a long summer, manfully trying to do his bit.
Anderson, playing his first late-season Championship match since 2006 - a year, incidentally, in which Sussex pipped Lancashire for the title - glided down the Hove slope to bowl 25 overs in the day. It can be assumed that England have set no maximum number of overs for Anderson to bowl. Or at least if they have he has chosen to be absent minded.
He did not quite manage to carry Lancashire to the NatWest Blast title - they lost in the final to Warwickshire at Edgbaston - and success has not come easily here. He was rewarded with his third ball of the morning when he had Luke Wells caught at the wicket but when he added to that by removing Craig Cachopa for 50 shortly after tea, it was to be his last wicket of the day.
Whether a side is pushing for the Championship or trying to stave off relegation, Ed Joyce has been a formidable obstacle this summer. In Sussex's last Championship match, against Yorkshire at Scarborough, his century held up the champions-elect before they claimed victory. Virtually a month later, as Sussex finally returned to Championship action once more, it was Lancashire's turn to feel the pain.
Joyce made 137 in nearly five hours, delighted that he had finally produced a major innings in front of his father James, who makes an annual trip to Sussex and has become inured to seeing his son get out cheaply. His elder brother, John, believing his own presence a jinx, had spent the first hour avoiding the ground and wandering around town.
He was to be pleasantly surprised as Joyce settled happily into his angular stance, a batsman entirely in charge of his game, before a back-foot force against Tom Smith flew to gully. He was only the fourth Sussex wicket to fall at the time, and they were only 31 runs in arrears, but with the second new ball barely an over away it offered Lancashire a chink of light, which they accepted by taking three wickets.
"If I'd got through even five or six overs with the new ball it would have made a difference down the line," Joyce said. "But captaincy has been good for me. I feel I'm playing with a bit more attacking intent, especially against the short ball, and maybe I'm putting a bit more store on not losing my wicket."
As Joyce prospered, periodically, an electronic advertising board promoted a "Bespoke Tattoo Studio". This correspondent does not claim an intimate knowledge of body art but it must be reassuring to know the tattoo studio you are entering is bespoke, which seems to rule out the chance that you will be pinned down on the table against your will and have a giant elephant's trunk etched on to your torso.
If Joyce was moved to mark his Championship centuries in such a fashion, he would have had to find room for six this season, and in only 12 matches, too. Sussex's lengthy lay-off - 19 days without a fixture - had not disturbed his equilibrium. An emphatic pull off Chapple brought up the 38th first-class hundred of his career. Jos Buttler might have dropped him off Anderson early on - nobody was quite sure.
As Joyce and Chris Nash assembled a second-wicket stand of 156 in 43 overs, it would have been hard to find a Lancashire believer. Polite applause sounded every few minutes as lunch approached: Nash's 50, the 100 total, the 100 stand, Joyce's 1000 Championship runs for the season, Joyce's 50, and the lunch interval itself. Had a seagull landed on the stumps, it could have been confident of an appreciative hand.
At least you could not fairly accuse Lancashire's travelling band of supporters of not coming prepared for a long day. One supporter sat next to a trail of debris by his deckchair: empty coffee cup, two plastic bottles of water, partly consumed, two sandwich packs, an empty packet of crisps, a copy of the Guardian (thereby identifying him almost beyond doubt as a Lancashire fan), a packet of cold and flu tablets (perhaps the result of a long night), a receipt, carefully preserved, and, topping it all, a dog-eared copy of the 2014 Playfair Cricket Annual.
Nash drove Simon Kerrigan to the tumbling Chapple at mid-off but when Buttler fumbled a stumping chance off Cachopa, things looked bleak. He fell to Anderson with the ball 70 overs old before Chapple struck twice with the new one, removing Luke Wright and Ben Brown. Michael Yardy was run out by a direct hit by Usman Khawaja from cover. Wright's brief flurry did at least include a six into the Boundary Rooms at long-on where Jim Carter - best known as Carson the butler in Downton Abbey - was booked in as a guest speaker. Regretfully, he did not stride onto the field in full butler's garb to demand a bit of decorum.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo