County championship - Sussex v Leicestershire: Wiese and Hamza star on tricky opening day

David Wiese was top scorer in Sussex's opening innings of the season / Picture by Getty Images
David Wiese was top scorer in Sussex's opening innings of the season / Picture by Getty Images

Leicestershire seamer Tom Taylor took career-best figures of 6 for 47 as bowlers dominated on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Sussex at Hove.

Taylor took three wickets in six balls to help reduce Sussex to 38 for 5 after an uncontested toss, before David Wiese counter-attacked with 51 to which took Sussex to 173.

Mir Hamza then picked up three wickets on his debut as Leicestershire slumped to 59 for 5 before Lewis Hill (40 not out) and Harry Dearden (26 not out) fought back to take their side for 131 for 5 when bad light ended play 11 overs early.

Wiese said: "It was a bowler’s day. There was cloud cover for most of the day and the new ball certainly did quite a lot, things happened a lot quicker off the wicket. I wasn’t expecting to bat before lunch on the first day of the season but Stiaan and I built a bit of momentum.

"One or two of the guys will be disappointed with their shots but credit to Tom Taylor, he hit some good zones consistently and you always felt under pressure when he was bowling.

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"Mir Hamza’s stats are unbelievable and he showed his skills. He looks like he enjoyed it and if we can get a couple of wickets early on the second day then it becomes a one innings game."

After an uncontested toss, Leicestershire made the perfect start when Chris Wright, their winter signing from Warwickshire, had Phil Salt caught behind for a duck off the fourth ball of the innings.

It got little better for Sussex who were soon 36 for five after Taylor wrecked their top order in a quality new-ball spell down the slope. Having picked up Luke Wells in his second over, he athletically caught Tom Haines (18) off a leading edge in his follow through, had Harry Finch (2) caught behind before bowling skipper Ben Brown via an inside edge for a duck.

David Wiese and fellow South African Stiaan van Zyl effected a recovery of sorts by adding 64 before lunch but Wright returned to the attack and bowled van Zyl (28) via an under-edge and after the interval Taylor picked up two more wickets.

Wiese, whose 51 included ten boundaries, was bowled by one which kept a touch low and Taylor had his sixth wicket when Ollie Robinson (28) lost his middle stump after adding 35 for the ninth wicket with Danny Briggs.

The last five wickets had added 137 runs and the value of those lower-order contributions became evident when Leicestershire’s top order found the going just as tough.

Hamza arrived from Pakistan with an outstanding first-class record of 282 wickets at an average of 19 and he was soon showing his skills, moving the ball late off the seam and through the air.

He took his first wicket when Ateeq Javid (7) offered a leading edge which the bowler dived to his right to intercept in his follow-through. Hamza then struck twice either side of tea as Mark Cosgrove (11) was lbw and skipper Paul Horton (26) caught behind.

At the other end last season’s leading wicket-taker Ollie Robinson was soon back among the wickets. He had Hasan Azad (6) and Colin Ackermann (0) caught in the slip cordon as Leicestershire wobbled.

But after a watchful start Dearden and Hill flourished, putting on an unbeaten 72 for the sixth wicket in 19 overs and if they can survive the first hour tomorrow their side will be in a good position.