Joyce gives Sussex the edge
Sussex captain Ed Joyce defied a bowler-friendly pitch at the PROBIZ County Ground as the hosts closed day one of their LV= County Championship Division One match on 106 for three, trailing Middlesex by 64 runs.
The Ireland batsman finished on 49 not out against his former county, despite the pitch continuing to offer pace and bounce to the seamers.
It was a good day for a Sussex side who have climbed into title contention on the back of three successive home wins.
Joyce survived two chances, both offered to Dawid Malan at second slip, off Tim Murtagh in the evening session.
Earlier, under clear blue skies, Middlesex were all out for 170 as Amjad Khan picked up 5-25 after Joyce had won the toss.
Middlesex lost their two key wickets in quick succession as Chris Rogers and Joe Denly were both squared up by Steve Magoffin and caught by Luke Wright at gully.
From 17 for two, Sam Robson and Malan looked to have steadied things until the latter was caught at third slip by Joyce off Amjad.
It was the first of four wickets to fall for nine runs, three of them to Amjad as he ripped through the top order.
Former Sussex player Ollie Rayner and Gareth Berg put on 54 for the seventh wicket before Amjad returned for his second spell, nearly an hour into the afternoon session, to remove both and complete his five-wicket haul.
Murtagh, coming in at number 10, top-scored for the visitors with 34 from 27 balls and was the last to fall, bowled by Magoffin.
Sussex's response began solidly after tea but Chris Nash fell to yet another lifting delivery, this time in Berg's opening over.
The South African all-rounder also picked up Luke Wells, and Murray Goodwin failed to offer a shot as he lost sight of a yorker from Toby Roland-Jones and was struck on the toe to fall lbw.
Joyce, appointed last week as successor to Michael Yardy, then joined his predecessor in an unbroken stand of 42 and is on course to complete back-to-back championship hundreds at Hove.