Gatting adds ballast for Sussex
The relegation pressure seemed to tell on Worcestershire and Sussex as the visitors ended a nervy opening day of their LV= County Championship match at New Road on 289 for eight.
The home side put down a couple of chances - one difficult, the other straightforward - while Sussex plotted an uneven course following a stand of 134 between Joe Gatting and Murray Goodwin.
Having recovered from losing the openers inside nine overs, they undermined their position with a number of loose shots but rescued two bonus points thanks to a responsible innings by Ben Brown.
Three weeks after scoring a century against Yorkshire at Scarborough, the wicketkeeper-batsman was again in good form with an unbeaten 53 when bad light ended play after 85 overs.
The last match here ended in a day and a half with a crushing defeat for Lancashire after they were bowled out for 80 by Alan Richardson and Kemar Roach.
Nothing so dramatic awaited Sussex when they chose to bat after winning the toss but Worcestershire’s new-ball pair did inflict some damage.
Richardson clipped Ed Joyce’s leg bail when the left-hander strayed too far across his stumps and West Indies pace bowler Roach swung one in to rip out Chris Nash’s off stump.
Batting was a tricky business as the ball nipped about and Gatting had a couple of alarms. First a fast travelling edge off Roach brushed Daryl Mitchell’s hand at second slip and another nick off Richardson skipped wide of Moeen Ali at third slip.
When Roach returned after lunch, Goodwin, on 44, was given the clearest let-off as Alexei Kervezee failed to hold a chance drilled straight to him at point.
When Worcestershire tightened up on their fielding, Sussex suffered a major setback in losing wickets in successive overs from Gareth Andrew and Richard Jones.
Goodwin went for a resolute 60 when Vikram Solanki brilliantly took a slip chance at the second attempt and Gatting, having hit a dozen fours in making 70, edged a back-foot drive to wicketkeeper Ben Scott.
Matt Prior and Michael Yardy both drove to cover, Moeen the catcher for the first and the bowler for the second, and after tea the off-spinner bowled Will Adkin with one that turned.
Amjad Khan supported Brown in a useful stand of 40 before he was caught on the leg side off Richardson in the second over with the new ball.