Jordan makes up for lost time to boost Sussex

Worcestershire 185 for 9 (Jordan 5-57) v Sussex

According to England's cricketing professionals, there are few things more exhausting than a county cricket season - although the pursuit of perfection deserves to be in there somewhere. Approaching the end of a season which a PCA survey has condemned as excessive, it is a fortunate county who can point to a fast bowler awash with vigour.

Perhaps Sussex are that county. Chris Jordan's return from a prolonged absence with a side injury could not take them to Finals Day in the NatWest Blast - a century from David Willey saw to that - but it could work wonders in their attempts to sidestep relegation from Division One of the Championship.

Jordan returned 5 for 57 in three spells, the last of them - Ben Cox shouldering arms to a delivery which came back to bowl him - greeted with a swivel and punch of the air in triumph. Steve Magoffin carried over a tray of drinks and handed him one. When Magoffin, who labours as long and hard as any seamer in the country, carries your drinks, you are having a good day.

James Whitaker, the national selector, was in situ to watch it, although the dry, moribund pitches of the UAE do not make Jordan a natural pick for the forthcoming Test series against Pakistan: Chris Woakes, if he removes his own fitness concerns, is one fast-bowling allrounder who is probably ahead of him.

That Sussex are concerned by relegation at all owes much to injuries that have bedevilled their pace attack all season, but the table insists they are. Hampshire, bottom, are stirring and have a game in hand over Worcestershire, who began four points behind Sussex and a further nine behind Somerset. This match could have a major bearing - and when Sussex's captain Ed Joyce pulled out an hour before the start with a back injury it would have been easy to become distracted.

Instead, Sussex pushed all that aside. "We are not looking at external factors, just how we can study the opposition and impose ourselves on the opposition," Jordan said. "That was a focus from ball one. I thought we start the tone from the start."

It would not do for Sussex to be too optimistic just yet. They have to bat last on a New Road pitch which has been used twice before and was described by one player as resembling carpet tiles. Worcestershire batted on it in the belief that it can only get worse, although if we keep getting sudden downpours of the one that ended play soon after tea it might bind the surface together and ensure it remains a slow, low seamer.

Jordan's languid approach does not immediately communicate menace, but he was on the money from the start. Daryl Mitchell perished in the slips - a knock-up from Mike Yardy to Chris Nash. When Tom Fell bisected Yardy and Luke Wright at slip Jordan was aggravated enough to rasp his next delivery through Fell's defences.

Worcestershire's only main resistance came in a third-wicket stand of 80 in 32 overs between Joe Clarke, already tipped by the former England captain Michael Vaughan as a future England player, and Brett D'Oliveira, installed as opener for the closing stages of the season in preference to Richard Oliver. Their departure - Clarke bowled by Jordan on the drive, D'Oliveira gloving a pull against Magoffin - began to a sequence of five wickets for 24 in 43 balls.

Remove Jordan from the attack and it became a different game. Worcestershire recovered somewhat against the support bowlers, but lost Jack Shantry at slip and Saeed Ajmal to a lavish slog sweep to leave the majority of a decent crowd nervous about their team's safety.

Worcs 3rd innings Partnerships

1st1DKH MitchellBL D'Oliveira
2nd39DKH MitchellTC Fell
3rd4TC FellCAJ Morris
4th26CAJ MorrisJM Clarke
5th13APR GidmanJM Clarke
6th13RA WhiteleyJM Clarke
7th79OB CoxJM Clarke
8th17J LeachJM Clarke
9th29JD ShantryJM Clarke
10th16Saeed AjmalJM Clarke