Olly Stone celebrated his England call-up with two wickets as promotion-chasing Warwickshire turned the screw against Sussex at Hove.
After being bowled out for 440, Keith Barker’s three-wicket burst with the new ball left Sussex, a batsman down because of opener Tom Haines’ ankle injury, reeling on 14 for 3.
Luke Wells and Michael Burgess effected a recovery of sorts, adding 72 before Stone, whose first over had cost 12 runs, hit back with wickets in successive overs.
Burgess, who had hit nine fours in his 46, was beaten for pace and lost his off stump then Wells (26) was strangled down the leg side. That wicket may have been a tad fortunate but in a five-over spell there were glimpses of the raw pace that have attracted the England selectors.
Stone’s burst left Sussex 87 for 5 and a long way off the follow-on target of 291 but skipper Ben Brown and David Wiese counter-attacked impressively thereafter.
Wiese made a 62-ball half-century and Brown his seventh of the season in 67 deliveries with both hitting seven fours. By stumps they had added 137 in 24 overs to take their side to 224 for 5, still 216 behind. But Warwickshire are still handily placed to force the victory that would secure promotion and set up a title decider against Kent at Edgbaston next week.
Wiese said: "It's a pitch where the odd ball is keeping low or misbehaving so I felt it was important to get forward and be positive and try and take the game back to Warwickshire a bit.
"Hopefully we can build on the stand we've got going in the morning. Ben (Brown) and I always try to bat positively and we have scored quickly which has taken the game forward. We've got to win really to stay in the promotion race but there is still a lot of hard work for us to do against a quality Warwickshire side but we've given ourselves a bit of a chance."
They would have been in an even better position had it not been for an afternoon collapse which saw them lose six wickets for 19 runs, four of them to Jofra Archer who ripped through the tail by taking the last four wickets in 11 balls.
Warwickshire lost Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott before lunch, but not before both had improved on their outstanding individual records against Sussex.
Bell’s 112 took his aggregate against the county to 1518 runs at an average of 65. The pair extended their third wicket stand to 230 – a new Warwickshire record against Sussex at Hove – before Bell, who had faced 260 balls and hit one six and 11 fours, was leg before sweeping Danny Briggs.
Trott will retire next week with 1879 runs against Sussex, nearly 700 runs more than he has made against any other county, after scoring 124, his seventh hundred against them with power to add if he has to bat again here. Trott eventually clipped a ball from Wiese to mid-wicket and after Sam Hain (53) shouldered arms to lose his off stump to Ollie Robinson the innings went into a tailspin.
Tim Ambrose (14) was also leg before sweeping Briggs before Archer returned to the attack and, with a strong wind behind him, swept away the tail. Barker (6) lost his off stump, Stone fell in similar fashion for a fifth-ball duck and in his next over Chris Wright (10) was bowled and Ryan Sidebottom leg before two balls later. After Bell’s dismissal Warwickshire had lost eight wickets for 108.
Briggs was promoted from No.11 to open but he had no answer to left-armer Barker, bowling round the wicket and angling the ball into the stumps. Phil Salt and Harry Finch both made ducks and Briggs 12 with all three were trapped in the crease.
Burgess and Wells counter-attacked impressively before Stone’s double strike. The 24-year-old returned for a second spell down the slope before stumps but Wiese and Brown were well set by then with Wiese passing 5000 first-class runs in his unbeaten 66.