Sussex in control after Hatchett job
Sussex 128 for 4 v Leicestershire 204
Lewis Hatchett boosted his hopes of landing a professional contract at Sussex with the first five-wicket haul of his career on the opening day of the County Championship match against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
The 20-year-old left-arm seamer took 5 for 47 as Leicestershire slumped to 204 all out after being put into bat. Only Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald coped with the bowler-friendly conditions, top-scoring with a fluent 63 that included 13 boundaries.
By the close Division Two leaders Sussex had reached 128 for 4 in their reply, with Chris Nash hitting an unbeaten half-century off 67 balls. But the day belonged to Hatchett, playing in only the second Championship game of his career and still looking to earn himself a contract having progressed through the Sussex academy.
The overcast conditions and stiff breeze blowing across the ground suited him perfectly and he claimed the first wicket of the match with a swinging delivery that trapped Will Jefferson lbw.
There was then a lengthy wait before Hatchett struck again, but when he did it was in spectacular fashion. He finished off the Leicestershire innings by taking the last four wickets for six runs in 11 balls.
Claude Henderson was bowled for 11, Nadeem Malik caught behind off the next ball while Wayne White and Matthew Hoggard both had their stumps uprooted by two more excellent deliveries.
To complete his performance Hatchett also ran out Tom New with a superb throw from square leg. McDonald was the only Leicestershire batsman who looked capable of coping with the swinging ball and a series of powerfully struck drives took him to 50 from 61 balls with 40 of the runs coming in boundaries.
Ironically he was the one batsman to fall to spin, trapped lbw by a quicker delivery from Monty Panesar having scored 63 off 80 balls. Veteran Paul Nixon with 22 was the next highest scorer while 28 extras helped boost Leicestershire's total.
But Hoggard also revelled in the helpful conditions when Sussex batted, picking up the wickets of Mike Yardy, Ed Joyce and Luke Wright in 10 overs at a cost of 42 runs.
Nash held the Sussex innings together, reaching the close on 52 not out, with the visitors still 76 runs behind.