Tom Taylor sets new career-best in first day at Hove

DAY 1 | Sussex CCC 173 lead Leicestershire CCC 131 for five by 42 runs

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Tom Taylor spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Tom Taylor collected a brilliant career best of six for 47 to inspire the Foxes to an impressive first day performance at Hove.

After opting against a coin toss, Leicestershire CCC dismissed their hosts for 173 with Taylor particularly catching the eye with some superb late swing bowling. He was ably supported by Chris Wright, who took three for 53 on debut.

Sussex CCC hit back before Harry Dearden (26*) and Lewis Hill (40*) shared an unbroken 72 for the sixth wicket to ensure the Foxes closed at 131 for five, trailing by just 42 runs.

Leicestershire CCC handed Specsavers County Championship bows to Hassan Azad, Will Davis and Wright, becoming the 480th, 481st and 482nd players to represent the club in the competition.

The opening fixture of the 2019 Specsavers County Championship got underway after two confidence building wins against Loughborough University and Lincolnshire CCC in first-class and one-day cricket respectively.

With the first ball delivered by Wright, the sun began to peek through the clouds at Hove to set up a good day for the Foxes. It took only four balls of the first over of the opening game of the 2019 campaign for the first wicket to fall.

Wright, bowling up the slope from the Sea End, delivered a darting ball to Phil Salt (0) who could only nick the ball to tee a catch up perfectly for wicket-keeper Hill. It only took a further 19 balls before Sussex’s second wicket fell, this time courtesy of great reactions of Dearden at third slip which saw Luke Wells (0) fall.

Sussex CCC suddenly found themselves at five for two, and the wickets did not dry up for the Foxes as Taylor opened his campaign in electrifying form. Wickets three, four and five came courtesy of the seamer, starting with a caught and bowled to dismiss Haines for 18 after the batsman drove his shot directly back at the bowler.

The Foxes fourth, and Taylor’s third of the day, came in the same over but unfortunately there was no chance for a hat-trick at that stage as it came from the final ball. Taylor delivered to Finch who got a thick edge on the delivery which was caught behind comfortably by Hill, claiming his second catch of the day.

The fifth wicket was devastating as Taylor delivered emphatically. This time the stumps went flying as the Sussex captain, Ben Brown (0), got an inside edge and helped the ball on to his stumps.

Sussex CCC were shocked and were sat at 36 for five with only 13 overs played, with four of those wickets claimed by Taylor. After the fast start from the Foxes, the home side steadied their ship on the south coast through the partnership of Stiaan van Zyl and David Wiese.

That was until Wright stepped up to bowl his eighth over. The seamer delivered a short ball to van Zyl (28) who looked to pull the ball through to the leg side, but succeeded only in playing on to his stumps.

Following the lunch interval, the Foxes wasted no time getting back into their stride as Wright took his second wicket of the day, and Taylor claimed his fifth. Wright delivered the ball to England bowler Chris Jordan who edged it behind and was caught by captain Paul Horton at first slip.

Taylor then stepped up immediately after as he claimed himself a five-for on the opening day. Taylor was bowling to Wiese – who posted the only half-century of the innings – and sent his off-stump flying emphatically out of the ground as Danny Briggs made his way to the wicket.

It was important that the Foxes began the second session strongly after a quiet end to the first session, and they did just that.

There was a change in bowlers as Gavin Griffiths and Davis came on for Wright and Taylor, who had a well-deserved breather. Taylor claimed his sixth wicket of the day, this time bowling Robinson (23) as the middle wicket was sent airborne this time.

Griffiths was the man who ended the innings from the Cromwell Road End as Briggs (20) could only top-edge the ball back to the bowler with Sussex CCC finishing on 173.

Ateeq Javid and Horton settled into life at the crease well, with both batsmen hitting boundaries before Pakistan international Mir Hamza, who was making his debut for Sussex, caught and bowled Javid (7).

In came Azad, who made an impressive first-class debut for the Foxes against Loughborough University last week. Azad (6) was at the crease for 21 minutes and experienced the high of hitting his first Specsavers County Championship boundary for the Foxes. Unfortunately, he fell to an excellent piece of cricket, edging a quality ball from Robinson to Jordan, who took the sharpest of chances at first slip.

His replacement, Mark Cosgrove, came in to try and see Leicestershire through until tea. He made 11 but was trapped lbw by what turned out to be the final ball of the session.

The quick wickets of Ackermann (0) and Horton (26) briefly swung the momentum the way of the home side, but a decent stint at the crease for both Dearden and Hill settled the Foxes.

Hill and Dearden went on to hit a number of boundaries between them and rarely looked fazed by the attack. Hill went on to hit the first six of the contest, only minutes before the umpires called it a day due to bad light.

FIGURES (1st inns): Wright 15-4-53-3, Taylor 16-2-47-6, Griffiths 7.2-0-34-1, Davis 6-0-30-0. 

TEAM | Horton (capt), Javid, Azad, Cosgrove, Ackermann, Dearden, Hill (wk), Taylor, Davis, Griffiths, Wright.

Sussex CCC | Salt, Haines, Wells, van Zyl, Finch, Brown (capt & wk), Wiese, Jordan, Robinson, Briggs, Hamza.

IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.

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