A typically vigorous innings from Sussex opener Phil Salt helped dispel his side’s unhappy memories of their disappointing first innings display against Leicestershire at Hove.
Salt hit 11 fours and a hooked six off Will Davis as he and opening partner Tom Haines made light work of a first innings deficit of 79. Salt struck a dynamic 80 from 67 deliveries as he made up for his four-ball duck on the opening day.
In the first over he hit Chris Wright for three fours - straight, to third man and to backward-point. He scored 41 off 27 balls as he and Haines raised the 50. And the opening pair took just 16 overs to wipe off the arrears.
As the Sussex press officer quipped: “We’ve had Greenidge and Haynes – now we have Salt and Haines!” And Salt, like the legendary West Indies openers, was brought up in Barbados.
Salt’s tempo slowed, allowing Haines to catch up a little. But he still managed to reach his half-century off 41 deliveries. In a bid to stem the tide Leicestershire brought on off-spinner Colin Ackerman to bowl the last over before tea, and with his fifth ball he had Haines lbw for 39.
Salt was second out with the score on 136 in the 29th over. It was a tame end to a vivid innings as he tapped a return catch to give Ackermann his second wicket.
Later Sussex closed on 211 for 2 - a lead of 132 over Leicestershire.
Salt said: “We had a good chat this morning about the way we had played on the opening day and we wanted to come back strong. I was happy with the way I played. I never think about the last ball or the next ball. I got a good ball in the first innings – Chris Wright has played a lot of cricket.
“So many factors favour the bowlers at the start of an innings. So it’s nice to put the pressure back on them, which is what I try to do. It also helps to have the right-hander and left-hander at the top of our order
“We’re ahead in the game – for now. We’ve built a decent platform. It helps when the ball gets 30 overs old. Now we have to carry on in the morning and build on this.” Manchester City supporter Salt then departed to watch the rest of Brighton’s FA Cup semi-final against Brighton.
After Salt was out the Leicestershire bowlers came up against another Sussex batsman with a point to prove. Luke Wells had also made a duck in his first innings. He showed determination as he dug in with South African and fellow left-hander Stiaan van Zyl. The unbroken third wicket partnership is so far worth 75, with both batsmen undefeated on 41.
Sussex v Leics day one
Jordan happy to be at home
Leicestershire had started the cold and blustery second day on 131 for five, 42 runs behind, and looked unlikely to reach their 252 when, in the fifth over of the morning, Harry Dearden, half-forward, was lbw to a ball from Ollie Robinson which kept a little low.
But a seventh wicket stand of 52 in 17 overs between Lewis Hill and Tom Taylor took them past the Sussex total. When Hill leg-glanced David Wiese for a single in the 14th over of the day Leicestershire went past the Sussex total. Hill took a battling hour to add the 10 runs he needed to reach his half-century.
Sussex fought back with three wickets in seven overs. Spinner Danny Briggs bowled Hill, sweeping, for 67 and then Haines had Taylor lbw for 33. Gavin Griffiths was caught behind off Chris Jordan for one.
But then a last wicket stand of 31 between Wright and Will Davis frustrated the Sussex bowlers and delayed lunch by 30 minutes.