Steve Magoffin celebrated a ten-wicket match haul for the fourth time in his Sussex career but Worcestershire are favourites to beat them and improve their chances of claiming runners-up spot in Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship.
Magoffin followed his first innings 5 for 38 by taking 5 for 32 from 15 overs as Worcestershire were dismissed for 198 in their second innings on another day of rich entertainment in which 17 wickets fell and 390 runs were scored.
It has left Sussex with a victory target of 272 on a pitch still offering plenty of assistance to the seam bowlers and they suffered a big blow in the final over of the day when Chris Nash was leg before to Joe Leach. They will resume on 13 for 1, still needing 259 to win.
Worcestershire had claimed a crucial first-innings lead of 77 but Magoffin had them in trouble immediately when Daryl Mitchell was caught at cover off a leading edge from the first ball of the innings.
Magoffin struck again in this second over when Chris Nash pulled off a superb diving catch at second slip to remove Brett D’Oliveira. Magoffin has now claimed the wickets of 22 opening batsmen this season – the best record in the country – but Worcestershire rallied thanks to a stand of 68 between Tom Fell and Joe Clarke.
Throughout the game, though, wickets have fallen in clusters and it happened again when three fell in the space of 18 balls. Wiese picked up Clarke (35) when he mis-timed a drive to extra cover before George Rhodes (6) was leg before offering no shot in the South African’s next over.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore was leg before to Jofra Archer to register his fourth successive duck and leave his side 76 for 5 but once again Fell led a recovery, this time with Ben Cox. Together they added 113 in 24 overs with left-arm spinner Danny Briggs targeted as he had been in the first innings. Cox struck him down the ground for two sixes while Fell pushed on after being dropped by Nash on 57.
Magoffin was summoned back into the attack and immediately made the breakthrough when Fell, trying to cut, was surprised by extra bounce and edged behind for 85, made from 126 balls with 12 fours.
In his next over a full-length delivery was too good for Cox (56) and Magoffin completed his five-for when he yorked Miguel Cummins.
Wiese gave him excellent support, picking up the last two wickets to finish with 4 for 18, his best figures for the county.
Worcestershire would have been in an even better position had Chris Jordan not led some spirited resistance by Sussex’s lower order earlier in the day.
From a parlous 71 for 7 he helped the last three wickets put on 158 of which his own contribution was an unbeaten 57. An enterprising stand of 97 with Archer ensured Sussex avoided the follow-on but it was their fellow Barbadian Cummins who stole the show.
The Worcestershire paceman finished with figures of 7 for 84 after picking up four more wickets in a high-quality display down the slope on a pitch offering him plenty of encouragement.