Brooke Guest struck his first century of the season to set up an intriguing final day in their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Derbyshire at Hove.
Teenager James Coles led Sussex’s fightback with an impressive unbeaten century. The 19-year-old reached the second century of his career six overs before stumps and will resume on 101 with Sussex 193 for five, a lead of 188.
Guest had earlier become the first Derbyshire wicketkeeper to score a century against Sussex before they were bowled out for 407 to take a first innings lead of five runs.
Off-spinner Alex Thomson, who opened the bowling, then took three wickets as Sussex were reduced to 72 for four before 19-year-old Coles and another teenager – 18-year-old Dan Ibrahim – revived Sussex with 113 for the fifth wicket.
To add to Derbyshire frustrations as their partnership blossomed, George Scrimshaw, who had taken five wickets in the first innings, will be unable to bowl in the rest of the innings for excessive use of short-pitched bowling after sending down three bouncers in his fifth over at Coles.
Ibrahim contributed a valuable 36 to the partnership but Thomson, who was always prepared to give the ball some air, struck for the fourth time after switching ends and finding some extra bounce to defeat Ibrahim’s tentative stroke and find a thin edge.
But Coles stood firm, and looked comfortable against both spin and seam. Strong off his pads and ruthless when the seamers over-pitched, he hasn’t offered a chance and has so far struck 15 fours and faced 179 balls.
With the wicket at the 1st Central County Ground showing little sign of deterioration, Derbyshire will still fancy their chances of a successful fourth innings run chase and Thomson, who had four for 47 from 19.1 overs, could be key on the final day.
Suranga Lakmal had already pinned Tom Clark with the third ball of the innings when Thomson removed Tom Alsop with his third ball, as the Sussex skipper edged to slip.
Thomson then bowled another left-hander Tom Haines with one that turned to beat his defensive shot and after tea he held a smart return catch off Oli Carter’s miscued drive. Sussex were in trouble but the composed Coles steadied the ship.
Earlier, Brooke had progressed to the sixth hundred of his career before he was fifth out for 105.
Brooke had added 108 for the fourth wicket with skipper Leus Du Plooy, who went past 900 runs for the season in his 53 before he was bowled around his legs by off-spinner Jack Carson playing back.
Guest guided Carson wide of slip to bring up his century with his 14th boundary but didn’t make the most of a reprieve when he was put down at second slip by Clark, failing to add to his 105 when he was squared up by Karvelas with the second new ball. Nonetheless it was an important contribution by the 26-year-old, who batted for five hours, 21 minutes and faced 236 balls.
Haider Ali fell to Henry Shipley in the next over and when Anuj Dal feathered an edge to wicketkeeper Carter Derbyshire were still 100 runs behind with three wickets left.
But Thomson and Sam Conners, who made a career-best 34, shared 51 for the eighth wicket before Karvelas returned to remove both batters to catches in the deep. Karvelas finished with four for 64 and Shipley four for 124.
Derbyshire wicketkeeper Brooke Guest, who made 105, said: “It was an important innings. It didn’t come off for me perfectly from ball one and a few of the lads scored more freely than I did. I had to dig in but it was nice to stick around and let the other lads bat around me. It was a real team batting effort.
“Four-day cricket is all about batting together and one bloke being there and getting a big hundred. Unfortunately I didn’t make it a big hundred, but I spent enough time out there for others to bat around me.
“It’s all set up on day four, both sides are in a position where they can win it. We always say it but the first hour tomorrow is going to be crucial and that could dictate how the game goes. If we bowl well and take early wickets we will see where the day takes us. The pitch is a touch on the slow side but you can bat on it, as they showed late in the day.”
8 for £80 – the flexible bundle to suit you!
Enjoy any eight days of LV= County Championship or One-Day Cup cricket with our new 8 for £80 bundle, designed to suit your schedule.
The 8 for £80 bundle means you can tailor the Derbyshire fixtures to your schedule, so you can visit The Incora County Ground when it suits you.
Juniors can attend all LV= County Championship fixtures until the end of the 2023 season for FREE, meaning you can introduce your youngsters to county cricket for less this summer!