Leicestershire were bowled out for less than 150 for the second time in the match as they subsided to an embarrassing innings defeat at the hands of Sussex.
Fine bowling from Steve Magoffin and Jofra Archer, both of whom took full advantage of the green pitch and humid atmosphere to finish the match with seven wickets apiece, along with a partnership of 133 between captain Ben Brown and Ollie Robinson earlier in the day, were the highlights of an impressive performance by the visitors.
Captain Brown said: “It takes a lot of character to come back from losing as comprehensively as we did against Kent last week, but we have to understand we’re a young side and there are going to be ups and downs.
“We had a long honest chat about moving forward, and this is a step in that direction.
“I felt there was a huge amount in the pitch, it wasn’t a great one to be perfectly honest, and Ollie and I looked to counter-attack this morning. As we went on it got a little bit easier, as it always does, and we took it to the opposition, and a lead of 178 was always going to be decisive: to get over 300 on a 160 pitch was a fantastic effort.
“Steve Magoffin has had a tough year, the wickets have been flatter, and at times he’s had to hang in there, he’s been down on himself, but he’s kept coming like the great professional he is and now he’s got 49 wickets and is cleaning teams up.
“Jofra Archer is a great talent, he’ll have good and bad spells, but he bowled some frightening deliveries, cleaning guys up with balls going like off-spinners at 85mph.
“We still have loads to play for, loads to learn, and we’re on three wins in four so looking forward to the rest of the season.”
The visitors resumed on 182-7, a lead of just 47, and with the pitch – on which 17 wickets fell on the first day – still green, the home side appeared to still be in the game.
Leicestershire’s bowlers lacked spark, however, and Brown and Robinson mixed aggression with application to impressive effect.
Neither was afraid to hit the ball in the air, and though they enjoyed the odd moment of good fortune, they also took full toll of some poor deliveries. Brown was first to his 50, hit off just 56 balls, and Robinson was not far behind.
Leicestershire skipper Mark Cosgrove eventually turned in some desperation to the occasional off-spin of Paul Horton, and the former Lancashire opener made the breakthrough in his first over, Brown, on 71, going back and edging an attempted cut to Angus Robson at first slip.
Having picked up his first first-class wicket in his 178th first class match, Horton promptly made it two, when Robinson, on 81, reverse swept him gently to Charlie Shreck at backward point.
Zak Chappell then knocked Archer’s leg stump out of the ground, but by then Sussex were leading by 178.
How much of an advantage that was quickly became clear. Magoffin and Archer, sharing the new ball, immediately began to make inroads, Magoffin striking fast with an outswinger edged by Robson to Chris Nash at second slip.
Nash then pouched Horton, also off Magoffin, though the opener had been struck several times by Archer’s seaming deliveries, and one of those deliveries then accounted for Neil Dexter leg before.
Cosgrove, and then Mark Pettini, both replicated their first innings dismissals, Cosgrove dismissed leg before trapped on the crease by an in-swinger, Pettini losing his off-stump when pressing forward in defence, and though Lewis Hill was unfortunate, getting a Wiese delivery which stayed wickedly low, Clint McKay gave first slip catching practice.
Archer had his revenge on Chappell by up-rooting his off-stump, and though Ned Eckersley fought hard for his 31, another low delivery from Wiese despatched him leg before, and Ben Raine, after another gutsy knock, edged Robinson to first slip.
The 22 points moved Sussex up to third, but they are still 43 points off leaders Essex with only two games left.
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