COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, Edgbaston:
CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY THREE: Warwickshire 407. Sussex 276-4. Warwicks 5pts, Sussex 3pts)
7-10 July 2009 (Play starts 1100 BST)
Joyce dismissed by freak catch
Sussex ended the day at Edgbaston on level terms after hitting 276-4 in reply to Warwickshire's total of 407.
But Ed Joyce's golden week turned sour as the victim of a freak dismissal.
Four days after leading his new county to the FP Trophy final with a match-winning ton against Gloucestershire, Joyce was bizarrely caught sweeping.
Jonathan Trott took evasive action at short leg but as he turned away the ball somehow dropped into the Bears fielder's right-hand trouser pocket.
Law 32 says a fielder has fairly completed a catch "if the ball accidentally lodges in his clothing".
With Joyce departing for 29 - the first of three wickets to fall in the afternoon session - Sussex were forced to dig in after more problems on a ground where they have lost five of the last six Championship meetings.
They eventually secured a more comfortable position still 131 behind thanks to an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 125 by Carl Hopkinson (64no) and Luke Wright (59no).
Trott celebrates his freak 'catch'
Having made a century in a 12-a-side match with the Australians last month, Hopkinson justified his inclusion, hitting 10 fours in his first Championship innings of the season.
Any hopes of Sussex had of registering their first Championship win at Edgbaston since 1982 seemed to disappear on the third morning when Chris Woakes reached an unbeaten 49 as Warwickshire's last pair added 65.
Naqaash Tahir (22) helped his side to maximum batting points for the fifth time in six games before giving a return catch to Ollie Rayner.
The injury-troubled Tahir then put Sussex under some pressure by taking three top-order wickets in his best Championship performance for two years.
With Boyd Rankin on international duty for Ireland, Tahir seized his opportunity after last week's confidence boost in dismissing Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior and Andrew Flintoff in a warm-up mach for England's Ashes squad.
After removing Chris Nash before lunch, Tahir then struck in successive overs when he returned in the afternoon.
Murray Goodwin's leading edge found Woakes at mid-on and Michael Yardy was easily caught by wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose after striking nine fours in his 57.