Sussex 118 for 3 (Haines 71*) trail Yorkshire 150 (Lyth 42, Garton 3-25) by 32 runs
As attractive as a day at the seaside sounds, you've always got to have your wits about you - be it to guard against sunburn, or the waves rolling in at an inopportune moment. Yorkshire arrived at Hove bristling with intent after victory over Kent last week, but were promptly scuttled by a vigorous Sussex bowling effort - the home side swooping like seagulls on a stray bag of chips in the wake of George Garton's three-wicket burst.
Adam Lyth, in fine recent form, made 42 but no one else reached 20 on the way to 150 all out, and Sussex were capably marshalled by Tom Haines, another opener in good fettle, in their reply. Two late wickets for Duanne Olivier, greeted by the South African with a full-throated roar, briefly disturbed Sussex's tranquillity, but they were well placed to stretch their stroll along the front into a first-innings lead.
Chris Silverwood, the England head coach whose role now encompasses selection, was on hand to see his former county make an assured start - a chat with Andrew Gale, Yorkshire's head coach, up in the South Stand perhaps touching on the early-season form that has brought Lyth more than 400 runs from five innings so far. But they had shipped five wickets by the time Silverwood took his leave at lunch, and were all out by mid-afternoon, as Sussex took a grip.
Hove is one of the most popular destinations on the county circuit, a charming old ground snugly tucked in among the terraces a few hundred yards from the sea; deckchairs usually get a mention, even if they're yet to be removed from storage. And despite the absence of supporters, the 1st Central County Ground felt like the bustling place to be, as various players and personnel with connections to the national team went about their business.
Of greatest interest was Jofra Archer, who would have doubtless drawn a crowd to the nets at the Cromwell Road end of the ground as he went about his rehabilitation following hand surgery. Archer batted and bowled during the morning session, before undergoing some fitness work on the outfield at lunch, mirrored shades flashing enigmatically in the April sun.
Archer is due to head to the IPL, where his team, Rajasthan Royals, are currently struggling after losing three of their opening four games, and talk that he could be allowed to test his fitness in Sussex's next Championship fixture was probably nothing more than local wishful thinking. England are expected to release further details on his planed return to action in the coming days.
As well as Silverwood, England's elite pace bowling coach, Jon Lewis, was back at his former county to work with Archer, while Tymal Mills appeared to jog around the outfield. James Taylor, now billed as England's head scout, was also on hand. Whether Taylor came with a view to seeing the Championship's most-prolific run-scorer (Lyth) or its leading wicket-taker, Ollie Robinson, he will have been able to file a favourable report on the Sussex left-armer Garton.
Joe Root, too, got a look at Garton out in the middle - although not much of one, as he was pinned in front of leg stump by a full inswinger for just 5. Left-arm quicks have a certain cachet, particularly when they are on the rapid side, and Garton has been on England's radar for a while, having been called into the 2017-18 Ashes squad as cover despite having played only nine first-class games.
Almost four years on and this was still only his 20th appearance. But Garton made a mark in last year's Bob Willis Trophy with a maiden five-for against the eventual champions, Essex - a haul which included the wickets of Alastair Cook and Dan Lawrence - and seems to have worked on finding a better balance between pace and control. If the wicket of Lyth, chipping lackadaisically to midwicket, was a touch fortunate, the obliteration of Tom Kohler-Cadmore's stumps was evidence of his venom. Later in the innings, Jordan Thompson was given the hurry-up via a blow to his lid.
Garton said he wasn't aware of the presence of Silverwood and Taylor during the morning, but he did admit to being pleased at pipping Robinson to the wicket of Root. "I'd be lying if I didn't say it was a good feeling, he's one that everyone wants," Garton said. "Before the day Ollie said he wanted to get him both innings, so I got one up on him there."
Garton also took a good diving catch at second slip to remove Gary Ballance, and will be looking to impress his all-round credentials when required with the bat, having fallen three runs short of a maiden first-class hundred last week.
With Lyth having won his initial duel with Robinson, the Yorkshire opener looked well placed to extend his run of 50-plus scores. His dismissal, after a 60-run opening stand with Kohler-Cadmore, precipitated a disastrous slump for the visitors, as they lost all ten wickets for addition of a further 90. The sense of waste on a firm, bouncy deck was compounded by Sussex marching to three figures on the back of Haines' unbeaten 71.
Ballance, playing for the first time since 2019 after personal issues sidelined him last summer, was Yorkshire's second top-scorer, as a young Sussex attack shared the wickets around. Sean Hunt, who looks like he could do a job on the wing for Harlequins, struck twice having switched to running in downhill, while the spinners, Delray Rawlins and Jack Carson, found some turn from the Sea End and plucked out three of the middle order, before Robinson returned to finish things with two in four balls.
This is a young Sussex side, in fact, with only two men - the captain, Ben Brown, and former South Africa international Stiaan van Zyl - aged over 30, and seven of them 23 or younger. Haines, a diminutive left-hander among the latter group, was applauded to his first home fifty of the summer by those watching from the Palmeira Avenue flats and will return looking to convert it to a second hundred, following a career-best 155 at Old Trafford.
At one stage, it seemed Yorkshire's troubles would extend to a serious injury to Dom Bess, after the England spinner left the field holding his right arm, but he was able to return and bowled 13 overs during the evening session - though his wait for a first wicket of the season goes on.