Wayne Parnell makes most of Kidderminster pitch for Worcestershire but Sussex duo resist

Wayne Parnell was in the wickets Getty Images

Sussex 185 for 6 (Brown 64*, Parnell 4-59) v Worcestershire

Kidderminster Cricket Club last staged County Championship cricket during the floods of 2008 and this time last week had no reason to suspect they would be hosting another match any time soon. Then came the deluge that left New Road under three feet of water.

They had only four days' notice that they were to be an accidental out ground yet organised themselves so well you could be mistaken for thinking they had been planning for months. The refurbishments to the charming 94-year-old pavilion carried out this spring might have been with this week in mind.

Almost inevitably, half the day fell victim to the weather, rain arriving on the stroke of three o'clock. Enough play, though, for it to be a day to remember for 19-year-old Adam Finch, given his chance by an injury to Josh Tongue, who claimed his maiden senior wicket in only his second appearance.

Finch shared the new ball with his clubmate Dillon Pennington in England's side in the Under-19 World Cup last winter and has been pushing for a step up for some little while, Pennington having stolen a march on him with a breakthrough last season. Skipper Joe Leach trusted him with the new ball here and he made an impressive start, striking in his third over to have Will Beer edging behind.

Beer had again opened in place of the injured Phil Salt, having made 97 in his makeshift role at Arundel last week. There was to be no such prosperity this time.

Indeed, there were but slim pickings for anyone in the top order. Ben Brown, the Sussex skipper, opted for a coin toss but ended up batting anyway when Leach won it and chose to field. It looked like Leach had made the right decision. There was clearly something in the pitch and on a relatively warm, humid morning, the home side had the best of things.

South African all-rounder Wayne Parnell drew the biggest benefit, dismissing Luke Wells, Harry Finch and Laurie Evans during an initial spell of 3 for 22 from six overs and returning after lunch to account for David Wiese. In between, Leach found a way past Stiaan Van Zyl's defensive push and Sussex were 102 for 6.

Wells had looked the most likely to establish himself, only to clip one of Parnell's least threatening deliveries straight to mid-wicket.

Sussex, third in the table going into this match, have aspirations to be back in Division One next season, yet this is not an unfamiliar scoreline. They were in similar trouble - somewhat worse, actually - at Northampton earlier in the season, where they crumbled to 68 for 6.

Then came an extraordinary partnership of 309 between Brown and Chris Jordan. Ominously for Worcestershire, the same pair are at the wicket now and they had added 83 when the rain arrived. Jordan might have gone first ball, edging Parnell in the air perilously close to backward point, where Ed Barnard got half a hand on it but no more.

Jordan is unbeaten on 44 with Brown, who is in a rich vein of form. Since his 156 at Wantage Road, the wicketkeeper-batsman has two more hundreds to aggregate 551 in the space of half a dozen innings.

Worcestershire, who need to make up some ground if they are to claim one of the three promotion spots on offer this year, will need to shift him early on day two, although the weather prospects are not especially encouraging. Days three and four are better. Prospective spectators, though, should be mindful of the common outground drawback of very limited seating and maybe toss a couple of garden chairs in the boot.

Worcs 4th innings Partnerships

1st32DKH MitchellJJ Dell
2nd23CJ FergusonDKH Mitchell
3rd27DKH MitchellMH Wessels