Captain fantastic Glen Chapple took five wickets and recorded his 750th first-class wicket for Lancashire on the opening day at Aigburth
It gave the Red Rose the edge against Sussex, and the 37 year-old was destroyer in chief as the Division One new-boys failed to capitalise on a start which had seen them reach 115-1 early in the afternoon session.
Chapple finished with 5-68 from 23 overs as the visitors, whose stand-in skipper Murray Goodwin had elected to bat first, were bowled out for 243 inside 80 overs.
Tom Smith and Sajid Mahmood took two wickets apiece for the hosts, while Joe Gatting top scored for Sussex with 90 off 122 balls and Ed Joyce added 84 at the top of the order.
Lancashire lost opener Paul Horton before the close – he was bowled by left-arm quick Naveed Arif – but they will be the happier of the two counties going into day two at 32-1 from 14 overs in reply.
Chapple said: “We started a bit slowly, the pitch was slower than we thought, and we bowled a bit too full. From lunch onwards, I thought the lads were terrific. We’ve ended up having a good day.
“I was a bit lucky, I didn’t feel threatening, but still bowled well from lunch. I’m really pleased with five wickets.
“There is no pace in the pitch, and things went well for us. But, with that in mind, I think we can get a good score. We want to get a good lead and capitalise as much as we can.”
Joyce shared a second wicket stand of 80 with fledgling left-hander Luke Wells (35) to give the hosts the upper-hand.
Despite it being a patient knock, totalling 166 balls, the Irishman signalled his intent by stroking the first ball of the day from Chapple back down the ground for four.
The hosts fought their way back during an entertaining afternoon session which yielded five wickets for 50 runs, including a spell of three for six in 26 balls. All-rounder Smith had a hand in all three wickets that fell quickly.
He trapped Joyce and overseas bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan lbw as well as pouching a catch at second slip to get rid of wicketkeeper Ben Brown off the bowling of Oliver Newby.
Chapple claimed the first three wickets of the day. He had Chris Nash lbw in the seventh over before uprooting Wells’ off stump in the fifth after lunch, before inducing Murray Goodwin to slash to Steven Croft at point.
Gatting and Arif shared an important seventh wicket stand of 56, with the latter taking 37 balls to score the first of his six runs.
When Arif departed lbw to Chapple – the landmark wicket - the score was 221-7 in the 71st over, and Chapple completed his five-for thanks to a super diving catch by Smith at second slip to account for Jimmy Anyon six overs later.
Chapple commented: “I didn’t know 750 were on the horizon, but I’m really pleased. I’m really enjoying my cricket, and thankful I’m still fit at my age.”
Mahmood wrapped up the innings when he had Gatting caught behind by Gareth Cross off a top edge and Amjad Khan caught at first slip by Horton.
Stephen Moore (nine) and night-watchman Gary Keedy will be the men to resume Lancashire’s first innings tomorrow morning, 211 runs in arrears.
Chapple added: “It is not our normal pitch, we have one wicket here where the ball goes through a bit and has pace. This one got a bit wet at some stage, and was tacky this morning with a little grass on it.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be fast. It is hard toil for the bowlers. But, if you get it in the right areas, there is something in it. It is not going to get quick. It does swing here, which the bowlers have in their favour.”
Photos (c) Clint Hughes
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