Dashing Nash cashes in
Worcestershire’s re-jigged attack clawed back some of their losses after Sussex opening batsman Chris Nash had logged his highest score for a year in the LV= County Championship during a fluctuating first day at New Road.
With Nash claiming the majority of the runs, Sussex went to lunch at 101 for one, then lost five wickets for 67 in the afternoon, and kicked on again to close at 283 for eight following a stand of 84 by Ben Brown and Naveed Arif Gondal.
Gareth Andrew, beginning his comeback after knee surgery in December, halted Nash’s gallop when he went for 84 - out of 109 - and Jack Shantry marked his first championship appearance of the season with three wickets.
All this was in complete contrast to Sussex’s smooth start in which Nash shared in successive half-century partnerships with Ed Joyce and Luke Wells.
Nash was under way straightaway with two fours in the opening over from David Lucas and he needed only 64 balls to post his second fifty in 23 championship innings since making 120 against Somerset last May.
Worcestershire badly missed the control normally exerted by Alan Richardson, but a torn muscle in his right armpit has forced their leading wicket-taker to miss a championship match for the first time since 2010.
If Nash was quick to take advantage of Richardson’s absence, opening partner Joyce was unable to impose himself as he grafted for 71 minutes to make six before he was caught behind off Richard Jones.
Wells also made a sketchy start but the tall left-hander battled through to end his run of low scores and outlasted Nash, who had hit 11 boundaries when he was caught throat-high by Daryl Mitchell at second slip.
This wicket led to another struggle for Murray Goodwin before Sussex’s senior batsman was lbw to Lucas for one. Having averaged 52.76 in the championship last season, the 39-year-old has made only 32 in six attempts this year.
Worse was to come for Sussex when the left-arm medium-pacer, Shantry, bagged 3-10 in a nine-over spell up to tea.
Wells and Michael Yardy were given out leg-before for 39 and 15 respectively and Joe Gatting’s loose drive was well held by Matthew Pardoe at cover-point.
The seamers looked threatening throughout the afternoon but there was another twist after tea.
Brown, recalled to the county side following Matt Prior’s return to England duty, and Naveed comfortably put on a fifty stand before the new ball was taken. They continued to bat with some freedom until departing in the space of seven balls.
Brown top-edged Lucas to Vikram Solanki, running back from slip, on 42 and Naveed was caught behind for 46, attempting to swat a short delivery from Jones.