Northamptonshire had the better of the half day’s play that was possible on the opening of the Vitality County Championship match at Hove.

They lost the toss but their batsmen battled hard and reached 95 for two when bad light – with no option for floodlights – drove the players from the field just after 6pm. 

Play started four hours late, at 3pm, with 51 overs scheduled but there were only 38.1 bowled and with Northamptonshire making their first visit to Hove for three years, they were keen to produce a positive start.

The first runs of the season at Hove came when the left-handed opener Emilio Gay flicked England international Ollie Robinson for four.

Sussex broke through with the first ball of the fourth over when Gay glanced Jayden Seales down the leg-side and Simpson made a distance to his right to pull off a fine catch.

Northamptonshire captain Luke Procter was in at 3 and showed his intent when he pulled Seales over the square-leg boundary for a nonchalant six. Procter was given solid support by Justin Broad at the other end. Broad played an excellent back-foot drive through the covers for four off Danny Lamb.

At tea, Northamptonshire had reached 58 for one from 24 overs, with Broad on 23 and Procter 29 not out.

After the interval, it was again Seales who broke the 61-run partnership, having Broad, who was only half-forward, LBW for 27, to make it 66 for two. Broad had hit five handsome fours in his 76-ball innings.

But Procter and Karun Nair – who scored such an impressive 150 against Surrey at the Oval last season – carried Northamptonshire to the close without any further loss and they finished the day on 95/2.