Somerset make Sussex suffer
Sussex's season is in danger of ending with a whimper after a subdued start to their last home LV= County Championship match of the campaign against Somerset.
They ended day one at the PROBIZ County Ground on the back foot as the visitors closed on 30 for one in reply to a total of 221 all out.
A campaign which promised an enthralling climax has deteriorated for Sussex with a loss of form at the wrong time.
Beaten in the semi-finals of both the Friends Life t20 and Clydesdale Bank 40, they began the penultimate round of championship matches still harbouring a slim chance of snatching the Division One title from Warwickshire, despite a 22-point deficit.
Those hopes swiftly evaporated as news filtered through of Worcestershire's early capitulation against the table-toppers and Sussex laboured after Somerset skipper Marcus Trescothick put them into bat.
They were soon bogged down by some tidy Somerset bowling, with wickets falling steadily throughout the day until a late-order collapse left Sussex with a below-par total.
The honours were shared around by the Somerset attack and Trescothick, who took five catches in the slips.
Abdur Rehman was the pick after arriving back late from United Arab Emirates. The Pakistan spinner flew through the night to Gatwick after featuring in the one-day international against Australia in Sharjah.
Twelfth man Jack Leach deputised before Rehman wandered on to the field in mid-afternoon to take three wickets.
Sussex were already toiling by then. They lost only Chris Nash in the morning session, caught behind off a sharply rising delivery from Steve Kirby, but the wheels began to fall off after lunch.
Luke Wells hit Kirby straight to short midwicket to make way for Murray Goodwin on his final home appearance after announcing his retirement overnight.
It was not quite Murray-mania from a sedate Sussex crowd and the long-serving Zimbabwean's penultimate innings at Hove ended, like his farewell campaign, in disappointment.
Goodwin was caught for 16 at second slip by Trescothick, driving, the first of two wickets for Lancashire loanee Sajid Mahmood.
South African Alfonso Thomas ripped the heart out of the Sussex innings with a burst of 3-5 in 15 balls before tea.
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, returning as a specialist batsman, was bowled for 17.
Captain Ed Joyce had held Sussex together with a patient knock of 65 before Thomas had him caught behind, and then Ben Brown was taken by Trescothick to reduce Sussex to 179 for six.
Michael Yardy and Steve Magoffin steadied the ship after tea with a partnership of 38 until Rehman prompted a late-order surrender.
He removed Yardy and James Anyon, both caught in the cordon by Trescothick. Mahmood ended Magoffin's resistance to give Trescothick his fifth take and Rehman wrapped the innings up by bowling Lewis Hatchett as Sussex lost their last three wickets for no runs.
They responded in the field, Magoffin trapping Arul Suppiah cheaply in a lively opening spell from the sea end.
Magoffin also thought he had taken the key wicket of Trescothick, but a thin edge fell just short of wicketkeeper Brown.