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Joyce ton puts Sussex in pole position

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Ed Joyce hit his second century of the match to put Sussex in sight of a remarkable LV= County Championship win over Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Warwickshire's stand-in captain Ian Bell looked to have put the hosts in firm control with an unbeaten 189 as Sussex were set a target of 330 in the Division One encounter.

But his opposite number Joyce responded, reaching 125 not out from 199 balls as Sussex closed the third day on 273 for two, 57 runs short of victory.

Rory Hamilton-Brown was with him at stumps, having hit a brisk unbeaten 48.

Sussex had been in command after claiming a first-innings lead of 142 but they lost that initiative as Bell launched a fightback which continued into today's play.

The England batsman was well supported by Jeetan Patel, who advanced from his overnight 47 to 74 before being caught behind by Ben Brown off Steve Magoffin.

The pair put on 118 for the eighth wicket with the century stand coming up in 117 balls.

With Chris Wright losing his middle stump to James Anyon first ball, Bell upped the tempo and cleared the boundary at long-leg.

Number 11 Oliver Hannon-Dalby occupied 20 deliveries before being run out as Bell ensured the last wicket was worth 34.

Bell had hit 17 fours and three sixes when he was left stranded.

Sussex had a scare at the start of their chase as Luke Wells was dropped fifth ball by Laurie Evans at second slip.

Wells capitalised on that reprieve as he made 57 in a first-wicket stand of 135 with Joyce before Evans finally got his man by taking a sharp leg-side chance off Keith Barker.

Joyce pushed on, perhaps sensing an opportunity to win the game inside three days. 

He added 53 for the second wicket with Michael Yardy, who scored 28 before lobbing a catch to Wright at mid-off off Patel, having been dropped by the same fielder the previous over.

Joyce was also put down, by Jonathan Trott at slip off Patel, but survived to reach three figures in 172 balls.

He continued to dictate the pace but the possible extra 10 overs available to try to force a result were not claimed. 

The left-hander had hit 14 fours in his 271 minutes at the crease.

Play had been halted earlier in Sussex's innings as umpires Nick Cook and Michael Gough examined the ball and had a long conversation with Bell. The nature of their discussion was unclear.

Warwickshire also confirmed that Rikki Clarke, struck on the hand by a Chris Jordan delivery on Monday, had suffered a broken finger.

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