Forget Stephen Harmison or even Andrew Flintoff. England should look no further than James Anderson to lead their attack in this summer's Ashes battle, according to the former national side coach Peter Moores.
Moores, now in charge of Lancashire, believes the 26-year-old is bowling as well as at anytime in his career after watching him take 6 for 56 here yesterday. Moores said: "He's worked very hard over the last two years to reach the position he's at where he is capable of leading an attack. Jimmy is a rhythm bowler and he is in good rhythm at the moment. He's bowling beautifully."
Anderson is acutely aware he will shoulder a heavy workload this summer. He is likely to be selected in all three formats of the game and how he must wish he could carry this pitch around with him over the next few weeks.
The ball swung consistently and there was just enough nip off the pitch to offer him further encouragement.
"It's going to be a long season," Anderson admitted. "The good thing about the Twenty20 World Cup is that it's not too stressful on the body because we only bowl four overs but there is going to be a lot of cricket before the Ashes.
"I felt in control, I hit my lengths well and it really swung for me. I knew exactly where the ball was going but now that I'm in a good run of form I'm a bit wary of not bowling for a length of time."
Anderson took 3 for 9 in eight overs yesterday, including Ed Joyce, who added only a single to his overnight 89 before losing his leg stump to an inside edge. Robin Martin-Jenkins (67) was floored by a brilliant yorker and Glen Chapple, who took seven wickets here last season, offered good support as Sussex lost five wickets for 42 in 22 tortuous overs.
The trouble for Lancashire was the ball kept swinging. Corey Collymore might not bowl at Anderson's pace but the Barbadian nipped out both openers in the space of nine deliveries. Matt Prior's tumbling catch to remove Francois du Plessis would have impressed his mentor Moores and when Ashwell Prince played on after a fluent half-century Lancashire were in a hole.
But Mark Chilton batted with his trademark obduracy and has so far added 107 with Steven Croft, who was dropped at second slip by Luke Wright on 22, to give Lancashire the edge.