Jonathan Trott held Warwickshire’s top order together with an unbeaten 62 as his side reached 163 for three in response to Sussex’s 413 on the second day of the LV= County Championship Division One match at Horsham.
Trott has so far batted for just over three hours and despite one or two alarms looked in the mood to continue his outstanding record against Sussex. He has now scored a double-hundred, four centuries and five fifties in 26 innings against them.
Trott and opener Varun Chopra led a steady response for Warwickshire with a third-wicket stand of 125 runs after they had lost Ian Westwood and Will Porterfield by the 12th over.
Steve Magoffin, who demolished Somerset at Horsham last year with 12-31, struck in his third over when Westwood gloved a lifter to Chris Jordan at slip. Left-armer Lewis Hatchett then strangled Porterfield down the leg side with the total on 30.
It was hard work initially for Chopra and Trott, especially against Magoffin and Jordan, who was getting some valuable overs under his belt ahead of the third Investec Test at the Ageas Bowl.
Trott’s first two scoring shots were outside edges to the third-man boundary and he survived an lbw appeal from Jordan on 21.
— Sussex CCC (@SussexCCC) July 22, 2014
Chopra would have been run out on 23 had Luke Wells’ throw at the stumps from point been on target but he reached his first championship fifty for 15 innings with a boundary through a vacant third slip and thereafter began to play with more freedom.
However, on 81 and having hit 13 fours from 155 balls faced, he drove loosely away from his body and was caught behind to give Hatchett his second wicket.
Trott, too, found the going tough for long stages but he reached only his second championship half-century of the season with the shot of the day – a straight-driven boundary off Magoffin.
He had a let-off on 58 when Ben Brown missed a straightforward edge off off-spinner James Tredwell and it could prove to be a costly reprieve for Sussex.
Tredwell was unlucky again in the penultimate over when Sam Hain was dropped at leg slip by Sussex captain Ed Joyce on three.
Earlier, Sussex had been bowled out for 413 after their last four wickets added 99 runs.
Brown and Tredwell extended their eighth-wicket stand to 71 with Tredwell striking three successive boundaries off Boyd Rankin in his 33 before he was caught behind cutting at Jeetan Patel.
Brown fell two short of a half-century when he was leg before to Rankin after lunch and the England bowler wrapped up the innings two balls later when he knocked Hatchett’s off stump out of the ground.
Sussex coach Mark Robinson reflected on two tough days and predicted more of the same, saying: "Warwickshire are a strong side and they don't give you an inch and so far it's been very hard and I don't expect that to change over the next two days.
"It's the sort of wicket where it looks flat once batsmen get in. But if you get a wicket you always feel you can get another quickly.
“Today was the best day for batting. We got ourselves a good total and then, on another day, we could have had them five down.
"But we dropped a couple of catches and we need to go again tomorrow. Jonathan Trott has a good record against us but we just have to approach tomorrow with the same intensity and hope things go our way."