County Championship: Sussex build useful lead against Worcestershire on third day

Sussex's Ben Brown
Ben Brown's second half-century of the game helped Sussex build a useful lead
County Championship Division Two, Chester Road, Kidderminster (day three):
Sussex 255 & 236-5: Evans 106*, Brown 64; Barnard 2-48
Worcestershire 383: Cox 61, Ferguson 56, Wessels 55; Robinson 5-84, Jordan 3-76
Sussex (5 pts) lead Worcestershire (7 pts) by 108 runs

Sussex white ball specialist Laurie Evans hit his first red-ball century in four years to rescue his side against Worcestershire at Kidderminster.

After Sussex slumped to 34-4 in their second innings, still 94 runs behind, Evans put on 157 with Ben Brown (64).

Earlier, after Ben Cox went for 61, Joe Leach (54 not out) and Wayne Parnell helped the hosts total 383.

But, by the end of the day, Evans was still there on 106, after Brown helped Sussex to 236-5, a lead of 108.

Worcestershire were not helped by another hamstring injury to South African Wayne Parnell, which limited him to just four overs after taking the early wicket of Stiaan van Zyl.

Home captain Leach also went off for treatment on a buttock muscle injury.

But it was still a fine effort from both the in-form Brown and Evans - Brown registering his sixth 50-plus score in his past seven innings.

Warwickshire old boy Evans was a County Championship regular in his time with the Bears, but he has played mostly one-day cricket in recent seasons, even before his move to Sussex in 2017.

This is only his 14th first-class game in four years and, if he can help the last five Sussex batsmen at least double their current lead on the final day at Chester Road, this innings could even prove to be a match winner, not just a match saver.

Pears bowling coach Alan Richardson told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"We probably couldn't have hoped for the first half of the day to go any better really. We applied ourselves really well with the bat with the guys down the order and obtained a good lead which is what we were hoping for.

"Then we started well with the ball and we took a couple of hammer blows with Wayne Parnell and Joe Leach having to go off and it stopped us in our tracks a little bit. But fair play to Sussex. Evans and Ben Brown, stuck to their task very well and made it very hard for us.

"It is a bit too early to tell on Wayne. It looks like a bit of a hamstring thing. We will see how he pulls up in the morning and keep re-assessing.

"But it was an absolutely amazing effort by Joe. We didn't think he would get out and bowl again and he said 'no, let's have a go' and once he got the engine going, he bowled brilliantly and probably deserved a couple of wickets in that spell."

Sussex centurion Laurie Evans told BBC Sussex:

"It has been a long time coming and it was a long time overdue. The red ball game is lot tougher than the white ball game and more mentally challenging, tests your technique and everything, but also probably the most rewarding.

"I'm a white ball cricketer plying my trade around the world but the most valuable runs are always first-class runs and down the years that is what you are judged on.

"I'm overjoyed with the hard work I put in. I was just trying to get myself in, get myself moving, get used to the surface. And Ben Brown is good company to be with in the middle because he's making it look extremely easy. It was a tough situation when we came together but we tried to have a little counter-attack and be positive and it came off."

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