Sussex 211&149-5 Hampshire 168: Miserly Bruce strikes late to hand Hampshire lifeline

No excuses, and that is official. The Rosebowl pitch can not be blamed for the low totals thus far in this match - not according to Peter Walker, the ECB pitch inspector. "The ball has moved around and there has been a bit too much movement for a little too long," he said, "but not so much that it warrants bringing in the pitch panel. There will be no action taken."

While that will be good news for groundsman Nigel Gray, the frequency with which both sides lost wickets is a cause of concern, for Hampshire perhaps more so, since they finished with a first-innings deficit. At least they got in among the Sussex second innings late in the day and may yet be able to present captain Shane Warne with a victory when he arrives from Australia on Sunday.

James Bruce was once more miserly as he picked up a couple of wickets and Chris Tremlett gave little away either, but Sussex were still able to move into a sizeable lead in the context of what has gone on in this match.

Not even the overnight deduction of a single from the Sussex total because the last wicket pair of Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Jason Lewry had run one short in their stand, was of much help to hapless Hampshire. They never looked like approaching the Sussex first innings score.

Runs were at a premium all day, a combination of the conditions, with the ball seaming around a fair bit and some fine bowling.

Rana struck first when he had Jimmy Adams lbw on the back foot. John Crawley was stuck on his overnight 18 when he fell in the slips off the same bowler shortly after. Thereafter the Hampshire innings was an ever-lengthening procession back to the pavilion.

Rana picked up his first five-wicket haul of the summer and promises plenty more. Robin Martin-Jenkins also picked up a couple, but, almost as importantly, when he wasn't doing that, he was sending down maiden after maiden.

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