THE general idea at this stage of the season is for counties pursuing the Championship title to prepare pitches that give the bowlers a chance. Unfortunately, Leicestershire's batting fell into the same category here yesterday and they failed to collect a batting point for the first time this season.
If Sussex needed a boost after their defeat by Derbyshire, it was provided when Leicestershire's last eight wickets fell for 99 runs. The pace and bounce tended to vary, but only Phil Simmons, caught off a leading edge from a delivery that may have stopped a shade, could claim to have been undone by the conditions.
Before he departed to Bill Athey's excellent low catch at cover, Simmons had been enjoying himself against Paul Jarvis, who could do little right with the new ball, in contrast to Franklyn Stephenson, who passed the bat with some regularity at the other end.
Stephenson, in fact, thought he had Nigel Briers leg before wicket before he had scored. After that Briers and Tim Boon found enough variations in length and line to suggest that the advantage of winning the toss would not be wasted.
But Boon perished to a tentative stroke outside his off stump against Jarvis, and soon afterwards Briers was caught behind. After that, Sussex , operating to a plan and some astute field changes, steadily worked their way through the middle order.
For once, Leicestershire's valuable lower middle order - the 'boiler room end' as it is known in many sides - failed and Sussex's satisfaction at a job well done was only tempered when Athey was obliged to retire in the eighth over.
By now, the light was moderate and he could not avoid a ball from David Millns which bounced and came back, striking him on the elbow.
Neil Lenham picked off a generous supply of loose stuff from the new ball but after the second of two stoppages for rain and bad light, David Smith was leg before offering no stroke to Gordon Parsons, so Leicestershire ended the day marginally better than they had started it.