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County Championship: Promotion-chasing Leicestershire take early advantage against Sussex

LV=County Championship, The 1st Central County Ground, Hove (day one):

Sussex 262: Hudson-Prentice 65; Salisbury 5-73

Leicestershire 68-2: Patel 36*; Karvelas 1-10

Leicestershire (3 pts) trail Sussex (1 pt) by 194 runs with eight wickets remaining


A season's best 5-73 by Matt Salisbury gave Leicestershire the advantage against Sussex in a County Championship match they must win to keep up their chances of promotion from Division Two.

Fynn Hudson-Prentice's 65 from number seven held up Leicestershire at Hove but the visitors were still happy enough, after putting Sussex in, to bowl them out for 262 and reply with 68-2.

Opener Rishi Patel finished unbeaten on 36 - exactly the score he needed to complete 1,000 Championship runs for the season.

The 30-year-old Salisbury brushed off a disappointing new-ball spell, when 28 runs came from his first four overs, to take the prized wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara on his return to the attack before lunch and later remove James Coles, for 44, and Hudson-Prentice.

Leicestershire came into the match in third place in Division Two, 24 points behind Worcestershire but with a game in hand on the county currently in the other promotion position behind near-certain second-tier champions Durham.

There were four wickets for Leicestershire's seamers in an entertaining morning session, after Tom Haines and Tom Clark got Sussex off to a flying start.

Haines, in particular, scored freely and the pair scampered a number of quick singles but after the fifty partnership arrived in the eighth over, Chris Wright made the breakthrough an over later.

Clark, pushing forward on 15, was beaten off the pitch and edged low to third slip where Sol Budinger scooped up a good low catch.

Haines' 29-ball 39 - featuring eight fours - ended when, after driving Scott Currie's first and third balls of the 10th over to the straight boundary, he edged another attempted forcing shot waist-high to Budinger.

It was 80- when Tom Alsop was brilliantly caught by a diving Umar Amin at midwicket for 10 from a solid clip off his toes against Tom Scriven's medium pace, and a good-sized crowd then saw India Test star Pujara settle in with some excellent strokes.

And the visitors' decision to bowl first was fully vindicated when Pujara, on 26, was drawn into an indeterminate push at a fine ball from Salisbury and edged low for Colin Ackermann at second slip to take a sharp catch.

Honours were even in the afternoon session, with Leicestershire taking another three wickets but both Hudson-Prentice and Coles looking comfortable.

Oli Carter went for 16, steering a rising leg-cutter from Currie - on loan from Hampshire - to second slip, but Sussex's total had moved to 179 before Coles, who hit seven fours, clipped Salisbury to midwicket.

Jack Carson lifted a full delivery on his pads from Scriven to midwicket to go for five, but Karvelas hoisted Currie into the pavilion for six and Hudson-Prentice completed his half-century just before tea, at which point Sussex were 231-7.

Hudson-Prentice hit eight fours in his 92-ball effort but it was Salisbury who had the final word at the start of the final session when he reacted well to hold Hudson-Prentice's leading edge off his own bowling before dismissing Henry Crocombe lbw for six and Karvelas, brilliantly held by a diving Ackermann at second slip, for 18.

Budinger fell early for a duck, skying a pull at Ari Karvelas to midwicket, but Patel continued to impress in a breakthrough season for the 25-year-old former Essex player, who is averaging more than 50.

Leicestershire's only other wicket to fall was that of Lewis Hill, caught off Haines' medium pace for 11.

Report supplied by ECB Reporters' Network.