The ECB's pitch inspectors will be heading to Horsham tomorrow after a dramatic first day saw 18 wickets fall.
Sussex were bowled out for 137 but fought back to reduce Worcestershire to 133-8 by the close.
There was some indifferent bounce on a bone-dry pitch and lateral movement to encourage the bowlers, but some indifferent batting was also a factor.
Only teenage wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who made a composed, career-best 40, and Mark Davis (23) impressed as they ensured Sussex avoided total ignominy after they had been reduced to 54-6 after winning the toss.
Alamgir Sheriyar returned to mop up the tail and finished with 4-53 while Stuart Lampitt (3-22) and Andy Bichel (2-37) provided good support.
Things were no different when Worcestershire replied and were quickly reduced to 26-2. But opener Phil Weston and Vikram Solanki repaired the early damage, taking the score to 69 before the recalled Mark Robinson took three wickets in seven balls to sweep away Worcestershire's middle order.
He had Solanki caught at backward square leg and then had David Leatherdale and Kadeer Ali leg before in his next over to leave the visitors reeling on 75-7.
Kirtley returned to the attack to have Bichel and the obdurate Weston, who top-scored with 42, caught behind while Stuart Lampitt cut to backward point.
Steve Rhodes remained unbeaten on 23 and Worcestershire's hopes of a precious first innings lead largely rest with him.