Lancashire’s cricketers enjoyed a first day of utter dominance in their Specsavers County Championship Division Two match against Sussex, first by bowling out Sussex out for 127 and then by making 149-1 in reply.
Matt Parkinson collected a career-best 6-23 from 15.2 overs and Glenn Maxwell picked up 4-41 before Alex Davies made 72 and Keaton Jennings was unbeaten on 53 at the close.
This total dominance was in sharp contrast to the first 80 minutes of play, in which Phil Salt and Varun Chopra had put on 77 runs in 19 overs before Sussex lost five wickets for 11 runs in a dramatic collapse on a used pitch.
Any discomfort Salt and Chopra encountered against Lancashire’s seamers had to be balanced against some fluent strokeplay and Sussex had seemed poised to make very good use of winning the toss when Salt, on 40, swept Maxwell to Josh Bohannon at deep square leg.
Chopra was LBW to Parkinson for 32 and one of Sussex’s all too familiar collapses had begun.
Maxwell then took a good caught and bowled off Luke Wells, who made five, the same score Stiaan van Zyl had managed when he edged Parkinson to Rob Jones at first slip.
Delray Rawlins was then caught at short leg off Maxwell for a second-ball duck but Ben Brown and David Wiese saw Sussex to lunch, by which time their score was 95-5 on a pitch giving help to the spinners.
In the over after the resumption Brown was caught at the wicket by Dane Vilas off Maxwell for a single and Parkinson accounted for Wiese and Will Beer, both LBW, in his next over as Sussex lost three wickets in nine balls.
The leg-spinner also took the last two wickets before Davies and Jennings immediately made good progress in Lancashire’s first innings.
The visitors had one chance to make an early breakthrough when Davies was dropped by Wells off Mir Hamza on four but Sussex eventually claimed their only success 12 overs before the close when he was caught at the wicket by Brown off Rawlins after an innings which included 12 fours.
Parkinson said afterwards: “The lads have played some tough cricket the last three weeks but for my first Championship appearance of the season a day like that is ideal.
“When you play two spinners there is obviously going to be a bit more pressure on but I just tried to stick to my basics and hope the wickets would come from the pressure I applied.
“Getting an early wicket helps and having Glenn at the other end is quality. I think he took the lads by surprise by how good a bowler he is. He’s a gun off-spinner.
“I’ve had to bide my time and I’d sort of resigned myself to playing T20 for the next month, so it’s nice to go out there and do well.
“But you can’t fault our seam attack because there isn’t a better one in the country. I was calm once I got that wicket in my second over and it was just a case of settling in.
“It was the balls that didn’t spin that caused the problems. The plan now is to bat big and bat long.”