Sussex facing struggle in promotion pursuit
Delray Rawlins scored 34 in a 94-minute century stand with Stiaan van Zyl as Sussex took a first innings lead of 93 against Derbyshire in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two match at the Pattonair County Ground in Derby.
Derbyshire were dismissed for just 138 in 46.1 overs with David Wiese finishing with outstanding figures of four for 18 from ten overs, with five maidens. Sussex, with promotion in their sights, were firmly in control after finishing with 231 all out in 60.5 overs just before lunch on the day two.
However, by the close of play on the second day, yesterday, Derbyshire were very much back in the game on 360 for five following a mammoth opening stand of 274 between Luis Reece and captain Billy Godleman in 206 minutes.
The stand was finally broken when Reece was run out for a brilliant career-best 184 from 189 balls after Sussex used eight bowlers in their bid for a breakthrough.
Godleman also went on to score a century, 106 not out, as Derbyshire lead by 267 with two days remaining.
Rawlins, batting at No 5, helped rebuild the Sussex innings with van Zyl after joining him at 25 for three.
The pair added 103 for the fourth wicket before Rawlins was caught at wide mid-on. Van Zyl led the batting with 60 while George Garton, batting at No 9, added 50 off 51 balls, his maiden first-class 50.
However, the day belonged to the Derbyshire batsmen, as Reece became only the second Derbyshire player to score 150 and take five wickets in an innings.
His opening partnership with Godleman is a county record for any wicket against Sussex.
For the visitors, it was a day to forget as Reece and Godleman tore into the Sussex bowlers with four of the eight bowlers used going for more than 50 runs.
Although the Derbyshire seamers found some movement earlier, the tone for a challenging day for the Sussex bowlers was set when Rawlins pulled Reece to mid on and was fourth out on 128.
Ben Brown was caught behind, next ball and when Van Zyl was eventually caught on the crease by one that nipped back, it gave Reece five wickets in an innings for the third time this season. When Chris Jordan and David Wiese departed, Sussex were only 31 runs ahead.
Garton at least ensured they had something more substantial to bowl at, hitting three sixes off the spinners before his uppercut to third man gave Dustin Melton his maiden first-class wicket.
The rest of the day turned into a horror show for the Sussex attack which was unrecognisable from the one which had run through Derbyshire so easily the previous day.
Wiese, who conceded only 18 runs in the first innings, was driven and cut for four consecutive fours by Reece who hit 19 boundaries in his second century of the season which came off only 102 balls.
Reece had faced 189 balls and hit 32 fours and a six when he was run out by a direct hit from cover. Wayne Madsen was caught behind off a Reece Topley delivery for Sussex's second wicket, but the damage already inflicted on Sussex's season may be beyond repair. Their victory chase could be at least 350.