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Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 18:55 UK

Notts hold up Sussex rescue bid

CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY ONE: Nottinghamshire 294-8
(Notts 2pts, Sussex 2pts)
23-26 September

Nottinghamshire v Sussex

Sussex's eight-year stay in Division One remains in peril after a nip and tuck first day against Nottinghamshire.

Half-centuries from Mark Wagh and Chris Read left Notts on 294-8 at the close, Piyush Chawla picking up 3-51.

The visitors went into the final round of matches needing a victory as well as other results to go their way to stand any chance of avoiding relegation.

But Wagh's patient 67 was bolstered by Read's unbeaten 78, the ninth time the Notts skipper has passed 50 this year.

Sussex captain Mike Yardy won the toss and chose to bowl first on a Trent Bridge surface that has tended to offer most assistance to seamers on the first day.

Given the fragility of the Notts top order, this seemed a reasonable idea, but the visitors did not get off to the start they were looking for as openers Bilal Shafayat and Alex Hales put on 70 for the first wicket.

That was the second-highest opening partnership of the season for Notts, Shafayat in particular, coping with the swinging conditions well.

Hales also built on the good impression that has seen the 20-year-old post three half-centuries in the last three Championship games.

Shafayat edged Dwayne Smith to Yardy at first slip straight after lunch before a 51-run partnership between Wagh and Samit Patel advanced the score to 137-2.

But two wickets in six balls put Sussex back on top, Samit Patel playing on to Robin Martin-Jenkins before his younger brother Akhil, making his Championship debut, was lbw fourth ball to Smith.

Ali Brown only made 10 before chasing a delivery outside off-stump for a sharp catch by Rory Hamilton-Brown at second slip off Martin-Jenkins.

But as so often in 2009, Read steadied the ship with a combination of watchful defence and attractive strokes on both sides of the wicket.

With little happening for the seamers, Chawla's leg-spin came into play, bowling Wagh with a big leg-break to end the right-hander's 163-ball innings.

The India international then removed the retiring Mark Ealham lbw and bowled Andre Adams just before the close to raise Sussex's hopes again, although they will need to dismiss Read quickly when play resumes.

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