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Skipper puts Sussex in command

Ed Joyce’s stylish 129 not out took Sussex to 363 for four at stumps on the second day of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

The 30th first-class century of the left-hander’s career - and fifth against Notts - came from 138 deliveries with 15 boundaries.

Joyce made an immediate impact after arriving at the crease in just the fifth over of another rain-reduced day.

With play not beginning until mid-afternoon, the Sussex skipper’s innings gained some early impetus as his first seven scoring shots all hit the boundary boards.

The 34-year old found a capable ally in Rory Hamilton-Brown, who equalled his best score of the season with an undefeated 77 in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 158.

Hamilton-Brown, having entered the fray possessing a meagre average of around 28 for the season, belied those figures with a controlled and well-grafted half-century - which arrived from 72 balls, with nine fours and one towering six off Samit Patel.

Sussex had earlier lost Chris Nash, for 46, in the fifth over of the day as Patel took a sharp, low catch at second slip off Luke Fletcher.

Notts broke through again when Ajmal Shahzad replaced Fletcher, Michael Yardy pulling his first delivery straight into the waiting hands of Harry Gurney at fine-leg.

Yardy, with 35, had offered valuable support to Joyce and Matt Prior then maintained the pressure with a punchy 30.

Prior, just a couple of weeks ahead of the first Investec Ashes Test at this ground, got off the mark with a four off Shahzad and continued to play in an attacking vein until missing a pull off Fletcher to fall lbw.

The final session belonged to the visitors as Notts’ bowlers toiled under slate-grey skies, Sussex successfully collecting four batting bonus points.

Hamilton-Brown made a fifty for only the second time this summer and moved within sight of his first century since returning for a second stint with the club during the winter.

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