County championship: Sussex toil as Leicestershire build lead

George Garton had some success

George Garton had some success

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Paul Horton’s first century since joining Leicestershire helped cement his side’s strong position on a rain-affected second day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Sussex at Hove.

The former Lancashire opener made 100 as Leicestershire reached 300 for four replying to Sussex’s 163 in the 43.2 overs possible because of rain and bad light.

But with a lead of 133 and wickets in hand, Leicestershire are still in a strong position to win their second game of the season thanks to the foundations laid by Horton and his captain, Mark Cosgrove, who put on 114 for the third wicket in 32 overs.

It was Horton’s 22nd first-class hundred, which he reached with a cut off Danny Briggs that brought him his 14th four, and came after he passed 50 in three of his four previous Championship innings for his new county.

However, the 33-year-old, who joined Leicestershire last winter, lasted only two more balls before he was caught behind down the leg side off George Garton, sent on his way after a consultation between umpires Ian Gould and Nigel Llong. His runs came off 174 balls and he batted for just over four hours.

Even with floodlights on from the start, which was delayed until 2.10pm because of morning drizzle, batting conditions weren’t ideal although there was little in the pitch to assist Sussex’s seamers.

Garton was the pick of the Sussex attack in two lively spells down the slope.

Sussex captain Ben Brown brought left-arm spinner Briggs into the attack in the 54th over but it was leg-spinner Luke Wells, who bowled six overs either side of tea, who offered more threat and an appeal for a catch at the wicket off Mark Pettini when the ball turned out of the rough was turned down.

Garton was the pick of the Sussex attack in two lively spells down the slope. Despite being plagued by no-ball problems – he was called for over-stepping seven times – the 19-year-old left-armer worked up a decent pace, swung the ball both ways and was rewarded with a second wicket after tea.

Having just been on-driven for four by Cosgrove, he produced the perfect inswinging yorker which knocked out two stumps and Leicestershire’s captain was gone for 80, made from 136 balls with ten fours.

It halted a stand of 49 in 12 overs with Brighton-born Pettini, who ended the day unbeaten on 42 with Niall O’Brien on seven. The umpires brought the players off at 5.20pm because of bad light and play was abandoned for the day shortly afterwards when rain arrived.

View from the boundary - Sussex coach Mark Davis’ verdict

We’re behind the eight-ball, there’s no doubt about that. If you get knocked over for 163 on a decent pitch you are under pressure but I was pleased with how we came back fighting today.

George Garton gave it his all and I was delighted he got two wickets. There’s obviously a lot more work for us ahead but I know our squad are up for a challenge and I would back them to bat a lot better in our second innings.

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