Sussex eye promotion places after three-day win over Worcs

Jofra Archer mopped up the Worcs tail / Picture by Phil Westlake
Jofra Archer mopped up the Worcs tail / Picture by Phil Westlake

Sussex are in the thick of the promotion chase in Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship after completing a season’s double over Worcestershire on the third day at New Road.

Having made the home side follow-on 162 behind, they bowled them out again for 170 with David Wiese taking the first three wickets and Jofra Archer blitzing the lower order with three dismissals in five balls.

Sussex lost Luke Wells in clearing off nine runs for a nine-wicket victory – their fourth in five games. If they are now the upwardly mobile team, it is Worcestershire who have hit the buffers. After starting the season with four victories, they have won only one of the last six.

Momentum was first surrendered with an innings defeat at Hove in June and there was never much chance they would turn the tables here after conceding a first innings total of 430.

In their current form, Sussex are not a team to let opportunities to slip by. Even a 90-minute rain delay on the third day was scant inconvenience.

Chris Jordan and David Wiese duly took the last two first innings wickets, dismissing the home side for 268 despite an attractive innings of 65 not out by Ed Barnard. The all-rounder hit nine fours as well as a six which completed his third half-century of the season in championship cricket.

In another sign of Worcestershire’s fallibility with the bat, they were unable to negotiate the new ball period in their second innings. By the 14th over they have had lost three of their top four, the wickets all falling to Wiese at a personal cost of 18 runs. The 32-year-old South African first rattled the hosts in the space of three balls in which Brett D’Oliveira was missed at third slip, Daryl Mitchell survived an lbw appeal and was then bowled.

Wiese quickly followed that when the out-of-form Tom Fell edged to second slip for Harry Finch’s sixth catch of the match. Best of all, he got the big wicket when bowling Joe Clarke for 14.

A rest for Wiese – with figures of three for 20 in eight overs – was no respite for Worcestershire. Stuart Whittingham took over from the Diglis End and in successive overs George Rhodes was caught behind and D’Oliviera given out leg-before after making 28.

For an hour after tea all was quiet as Ben Cox and Barnard (for the second time in the day) provided some much-needed application, but a partnership of 44 was the calm before Archer stoked up his storm. With Cox lbw for 28, Joe Leach immediately edged to Jordan at first slip and John Hastings, batting with a runner because of a foot injury, lasted for only three balls before giving the bowler a straightforward catch.

With the light fading quickly, Sussex switched to Danny Briggs to take the last two wickets. Josh Tongue was attempting to sweep the left-arm spinner when he went lbw for 16 and Barnard (46) had 111 runs in the match when caught at long-on off Stiaan van Zyl.

Sussex’s head coach, Mark Davis, was delighted by “a really good team performance” in seeing off second-in-the-table Worcestershire in three days. “It was not easy to bat on the first day. The ball nipped around. They bowled indifferently but bowled a lot of really good balls that challenged us. To get 430 first innings was a massive score and enabled us to exert some pressure. We bowled really well. Different people stood up at different times. Today the second innings was very good for us.”