Opener Stevens struck 21 sweetly timed boundaries as the defending champions piled up 343 for 4 after choosing to bat on an easy-paced wicket at Arundel. Sussex, with leading wicket-taker James Kirtley out of action with sore shins, were further frustrated as England boys old and new, Chris Lewis and Aftab Habib, compiled an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 77 by the close. Habib was the dominant partner, reaching his 50 from 137 balls.
Another England man, Graeme Hick, joined Martin Weston in putting Gloucestershire to the sword. Both hit centuries to make Gloucestershire captain Mark Alleyne regret his decision to field at Cheltenham.
Alleyne hoped his bowlers would profit from early cloud cover but they received no help from the Festival pitch as Weston and Abdul Hafeez put on 129 for the first wicket. Weston went on to make 139, also sharing a stand of 150 for the second wicket with Hick, who contributed 122 as Worcestershire reached 344 for 3 at the close.
Darren Gough pushed his claims for an England recall with 4 for 62 against Warwickshire, who were bowled out for 253 at Edgbaston. The home side retaliated with Ed Giddins taking 4 for 59 to have Yorkshire struggling at 109 for 6. But a fine 75 from Anthony McGrath helped them recover and they were finally out for 213.Reuse content