Sussex openers dig in
Chris Nash and Ed Joyce produced a stirring rearguard on a wicketless third day to frustrate title-chasing Nottinghamshire and give Sussex a fighting chance of avoiding defeat in their LV= County Championship Division One match at Trent Bridge.
The opening pair, aided by a flat-looking pitch and the loss of 26 overs to rain, steered their side to 146 without loss, although that meant they were still 203 runs in arrears.
Earlier James Taylor, who took his score to 163 not out, and Adam Voges added 77 in just over an hour before Nottinghamshire captain Chris Read declared on 520 for four with a first-innings lead of 349.
The resistance of Nash and Joyce, who reached stumps on 79 and 63 respectively, provided welcome relief for Sussex, who must show similar application to bat through day four and save the game.
Nottinghamshire, one point adrift of leaders Warwickshire heading into this round of fixtures, will have cursed the grey clouds that twice halted play, but they never seriously troubled either Sussex opener despite the best efforts of leading wicket-taker Andre Adams.
The unbroken stand between Taylor and Voges had reached 148 when Nottinghamshire declared at midday, the varied strokeplay of Taylor having provided most of it.
He added 57 to the 106 runs he compiled yesterday and appeared unperturbed at having been called into England’s Test squad last night.
The decision by the ECB to replace Ravi Bopara – unavailable for personal reasons – with Taylor had no discernible impact on his rhythm as he swept expertly off Monty Panesar – who went wicketless in 35 overs – and Nash.
Nash and Joyce started Sussex’s reply solidly, registering their 50 partnership in the 18th over when the former clipped a half-volley from Adams through midwicket for four.
An hour and 10 minutes of play fell victim to a heavy rain shower but the visiting openers continued to lay a solid foundation, Nash reaching his half-century with his 10th four of 14.
His partner Joyce reached 50 in the 36th over and produced arguably the shot of the day a few minutes later when he drove Adams imperiously through mid-off for four.
A more prolonged rain shower then prompted an early tea and a further delay of over an hour.
Play did eventually resume but Samit Patel, Harry Gurney and Andy Carter were unable to force a crucial first breakthrough in the extra 12 overs.