Glamorgan’s Nick Selman and Marnus Labuschagne put together an unbroken second-wicket stand of 137 to frustrate Sussex on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Hove.
Already armed with a first innings lead of 234, after they had been bowled out for 420 in their first innings, Sussex seemed to be in control when Mir Hamza had Charlie Hemphrey lbw in the first over without a run on the board.
But the two Australians played with increasing authority during the final session with Labuschagne on 77 and Selman 45 at stumps. After 15 wickets fell on day one the surface offered fewer problems for batsmen prepared to sit in and wait for the bad balls – a tactic the Glamorgan pair were happy to adopt as they reduced their arrears to 97, reaching stumps on 137 for 1.
Earlier, Sussex skipper Ben Brown had made 131 – his 17th first-class century – as he backed up his 156 in last week’s drawn game against Northamptonshire with another chanceless hundred.
Together with David Wiese, he took the initiative away from Glamorgan in the first session when 140 runs were scored with the sixth-wicket pair putting on 107 in 25 overs.
Glamorgan used seven bowlers but struggled to stop Sussex progressing at nearly five runs an over, even after Wiese (34) was bowled by Timm van der Gugten via an inside edge for Glamorgan’s only wicket during the morning session.
Brown then joined forces with Chris Jordan to add 55 for the seventh wicket after reaching his hundred from 146 balls with 13 fours when he took a single off Labuschagne in the 65th over.
After lunch he added a further four boundaries and a six off Marchant de Lange which Billy Root initially seemed to have caught only to step back behind the rope. In attempting a similar shot later in the over, Brown gave Root a more comfortable catch running in from deep mid-wicket. Brown struck 15 fours in total and faced 190 balls.
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Danny Briggs (24) was caught in the covers off Marchant de Lange who also picked up Hamza to finish with 3 for 89. Leg-spinner Labuschagne took 3 for 61 including Jordan (35), who was caught behind pushing forward when he appeared well set.
Brown said: "I'm not doing a great deal different to the start of the season when I got a couple of good balls and suddenly found myself struggling a bit to get a score, which can happen in April.
"In those situations you have to trust your technique and your processes and believe that you will get a score. I felt in really good nick going into last week's game and got a hundred and a fifty and I've carried it on today. The pitch has probably been a little bit easier but we were really positive throughout and have got ourselves into a good position.
"As a bowling unit we probably didn't group enough good balls together after tea and have allowed them to build a partnership so that is something we need to address tomorrow. We're still in a good position with a lead of 97 but there is a lot of work to do over the next couple of days."
Glamorgan were immediately in trouble when they went in again 234 behind. Hemphrey was beaten by Hamza’s late in-swing off the sixth ball of the innings to complete a pair.
But Selman, who carried his bat in the first innings, and Labuschagne took advantage of benign conditions after tea to take the fight back to Sussex.
Labuschagne took three boundaries in an over off Hamza to move to his half-century and none of the six bowlers employed by Brown could make a breakthrough in the final session.