Sussex boosted by batsmen

Lv County Championship
Chris Nash

Chris Nash was unable to convert his fifty © Getty Images

Sussex gave LV County Championship leaders Lancashire plenty to think about by making a fine start to their must-win clash against relegated Worcestershire.

The defending champions closed strongly placed on 287 for four after choosing to bat at Hove.

Second-placed Sussex were boosted by Richard Montgomerie (82) and Chris Nash (89) compiling an opening stand of 155 in 40 overs.

This was the hosts' biggest partnership for the first wicket for four years and Mike Yardy (52) and skipper Chris Adams (32no) consolidated their position before bad light ended play with seven overs remaining.

Sussex made good use of batting first on a firm wicket despite tricky overcast conditions at times, and Worcestershire were made to work hard for their wickets.

Sussex's previous highest opening stand was 121, compiled by Montgomerie and Murray Goodwin against Warwickshire at Hove in August 2003, and Montgomerie fell in the seventh over after lunch 18 short of his third century of the season.

Opening bowler Nadeem Malik made the breakthrough by having Montgomerie caught behind push-driving at one outside off-stump.

Richard Montgomerie

Richard Montgomerie reached 1,000 runs for the season in his innings © Getty Images

Montgomerie had struck 14 fours in his 130-ball vigil and Nash and Yardy added 52 in 17 overs for the second wicket before Nash, who has passed 50 seven times and not been able to convert any of them into a century, departed 11 short of his goal.

Wicket-keeper Steven Davies held a straightforward catch as Nash followed a swinging delivery from Kabir Ali.

The 24-year-old Nash had looked in good nick, his three hour 40 minute innings containing 14 fours, and he hosted the game's first six in the seventh over by lifting Kabir Ali over the square leg fence.

Yardy, returning to the side following illness, batted steadily to help the hosts reach a second batting bonus point shortly after tea.

Yardy's half-century arrived from 92 balls with eight fours but, on 52, he pulled a delivery from medium-pacer Daryl Mitchell to square leg.

Carl Hopkinson, fresh from hitting his maiden century in any cricket in the NatWest Pro40 Division One defeat against Nottinghamshire, was unable to make an impression after being drafted into the side in place of Goodwin.

Hopkinson came into the top order after Goodwin's early return to Australia for a family funeral, and having made seven he fell to a good low catch at mid-on to give pace bowler Richard Jones his first championship wicket.

Captain Adams, feeling the discomfort of a finger injury which required five stitches last weekend, batted with restraint to build on his side's solid platform.

He had faced 27 overs before recording his first boundary, a steer cut, at the expense of Jones.