Sussex 532 Worcestershire 96-2: Martin-Jenkins gives Sussex and Mushtaq a winning base

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The Independent Online

All the time they can call upon the talismanic Mushtaq Ahmed, Sussex will never consider any cause is lost.

The veteran leg-spinner has been struggling with a sore knee in recent weeks, which at 37 and having sent down more than 600 first-class overs this season, is perhaps not surprising. But Sussex are relying on him more than usual here with five first-choice players missing.

Although he only took one wicket before bad light ended play 20 overs early the over-riding impression remains that Sussex's hopes of a third Championship in five years rest largely on his shoulders.

Chris Adams introduced his trump card as early as the ninth over but it was a further ten overs, a change of ends and several cacophonous appeals before he broke a stubborn first-wicket stand of 79 when Stephen Moore pushed a googly into the hands of short leg.

Worcestershire added only five more runs before Jason Lewry arrowed an inswinging yorker into Moeen Ali's pads. With events at the Oval going their way too, Sussex had been re-energised when the weather closed in. If they can remove Graeme Hick quickly today they will fancy their chances of winning.

The first half of the day had been dominated by Sussex all-rounder Robin Martin-Jenkins who made his highest first-class score for four years but fell one run short of a hundred.

Dropped earlier in the season because of poor form with the bat, Martin-Jenkins has rediscovered it at a crucial time with 248 runs in his last four innings. He helped the last two Sussex wickets add 150 when, after the departure of Adams for 74, it looked as if they might not achieve their first objective of maximum batting points.

Chris Liddle was a revelation at No 10, hitting a perky 53 and helping Martin-Jenkins add 120 for the ninth wicket in 17 overs.

Martin-Jenkins was dropped on 80 and 96 – fortunate on both occasions to pick out Worcestershire's two worst fielders Ray Price and Nadeem Malik – only to fall to Moore's brilliant diving effort at point.