A timely half century from Saif Zaib lead a lower order fightback that saw Northamptonshire recover from 99 for 6 to post 273 before taking 2 late wickets to finish Day 1 on top.

Zaib came into the side for his first Specsavers County Championship match of the season as Adam Rossington won the contested toss and chose to bat. Northamptonshire lost Vasconcelos in the first over of the morning, trapped in front by Robinson for 2. Rob Newton scored a trio of boundaries before feathering a catch to the keeper. Bavuma looked to carry on the form he showed against Leicestershire but he gloved an attempted pull behind for 12. Wickets fell at regular intervals throughout the morning, Wakely the last man to go before the lunch break with Northamptonshire 96 for 4.

After looking fluent, Rob Keogh fell in the second over of the afternoon session, trapped in front by Robinson for 21. Luke Procter departed shortly after when his edge was well taken by Wells at third slip with Northamptonshire now 99 for 6. Adam Rossington and Saif Zaib began the resistance, adding 51 for the seventh wicket, an uncharacteristic innings from the Northamptonshire captain with just two boundaries. He edged behind for 35 to bring Hutton to the crease who paired with Zaib to post another half century partnership.

Zaib looked confident in his first Championship knock of the season, hammering Beer back over his head and into the stands on two occasions. He raised his half century in 101 balls as he found good support in Hutton. Both batsmen fell in the same over however, Sakande bowling Hutton for 24 before finding extra bounce to have Zaib caught behind for 54.

This brought together Sanderson and Buck who together took Northamptonshire past a second batting point in a partnership that frustrated Sussex. The tailenders found the boundary 10 times between them as they sent the old and new ball to the fence of both sides of the ground. The partnership passed 50 and went on to become the highest of the day. Sanderson eventually finding the man on the square leg boundary for 28. Northamptonshire’s final 4 batsmen added 174, 68 of those from the tenth wicket, to finish 273 with 7 overs left in the day.

Hutton and Sanderson made full use of the last half an hour, both striking to leave Sussex 7 for 2 at the close. Hutton rapping Chopra on the pad before taking an excellent catch at second slip in the following over. Wells and night watchman Thomason surviving through to the close.

Northamptonshire 273 (Zaib 54, Wakely 36)

Sussex 7/2 (Sanderson 1/3, Hutton 1/4)

Full scorecard.