Brown, bowlers leaves Sussex in charge
Hampshire 220 for 9 (Ervine 57*, Shahzad 3-54, Mills 2-28) trail Sussex 444 (Brown 144*, Briggs 4-74) by 224 runs
The Sussex pace quartet of Steve Magoffin, Ajmal Shahzad, Tymal Mills and Matt Hobden ripped through Hampshire as the hosts closed day two 224 runs in arrears at the Ages Bowl. Hampshire collapsed from 47 to 1 to 95 for 7, and needed a 109-run partnership from Chris Wood and Sean Ervine, who ended the day unbeaten on 57 to avoid further problems.
Reply to Sussex's imposing 444, Hampshire started briskly, as Michael Carberry and Liam Dawson put on 47 before both batsman fell in successive balls. Carberry scored 25 before he was struck on the pads to give Shahzad a first Sussex wicket after his move south from Nottinghamshire. Dawson - who opened instead of Jimmy Adams after the captain suffered a bruised knee when colliding with an advertising hoarding on day one - succumbed to Hobden leg before, for 22, with the next delivery.
Hampshire's struggles deepened when Will Smith slashed Shahzad straight at Michael Yardy at second slip without scoring. Hobden picked up his second scalp when Adam Wheater pushed to Ed Joyce for another duck, before Shahzad struck with the last ball of the afternoon session to see off Adams for 4 - the hosts flagging on 63 for 5.
Hampshire's one-day skipper James Vince looked at ease with a run-a-ball 37 but edged Magoffin behind to Brown. Magoffin The bagged his second wicket of the season five balls later as Berg left a straight delivery for the third duck of the innings.
Wood and Ervine guided Hampshire's recovery as the sun broke through the clouds but the lengthy eighth-wicket stand ended with a sharp catch by Luke Wright at backward square leg, as Wood departed for 48. Danny Briggs edged the last ball of the day from Mills to Joyce to go for four and compound their poor day. Although Ervine remains on 57 not out, Hampshire are 71 runs shy of the follow-on score.
Sussex wicketkeeper Ben Brown started the day by bringing up his sixth first-class century as the visitors completed their recovering from 22 for 3 on day one. Brown reached three figures - from 169 balls - in the 111th over with a powerful cut four off Chris Wood, his 14th boundary.
Brown and Shahzad frustrated a dispirited Hampshire attack throughout the morning, putting on 73 for the seventh wicket before Shahzad misjudged some late movement from Berg as he was bowled for 35 from 90 balls. Briggs tidied up the Sussex tail after the interval as he ended with figures of 4 for 74 but was outshone by Brown, who ended unbeaten on 144.
After assisting Brown in a 73-run partnership, Magoffin mis-timed his slog drive to Gareth Berg at mid-off, for a good quality 41 before Mills only lasted eight balls on his Sussex debut, Brown and No. 11 batsman Matt Hobden further tested the home side's patience before spinner Briggs snuck a delivery through the latter's defensive to end Sussex's innings.
Brown was full of praise for the Sussex bowling attack. "It was incredible. We were going for a few runs and they looked set but we have that kind of attack that can blast people out," he said. "Tymal has that x-factor, he has so much pace. Hobsy's quick as well and Ajmal and Mags were running in hard. It is a very exciting bowling attack. As for me, there are always nerves starting the season as a batsman, but to get a big score is a great feeling.''
Hampshire first-team coach Dale Benkenstein knows his team are now in a tough position but hopes they are benefiting from the experience. "It was not a very good day but it was a good learning day," he said. "The sooner you have days like this the better, we now know what we are up against in Division One. We found it really tough to get them out. I think the extra pace and aggression they showed is something we need to learn from. There was a glimmer of hope with the partnership which is great to see as we could have been close to 100 all out. We are going to have to fight in the next two days."