Worcestershire’s substantial strength in depth with their batting line-up paid handsome dividends as they extended their first innings advantage to 128 on the third morning of the Specsavers County Championship match with Sussex at Kidderminster.
The County’s attack then got to work with the new ball and reduced Sussex to 34-4 during the afternoon session before injury setbacks to Wayne Parnell (left side hamstring injury) and club captain Joe Leach (spasm in the right buttock).
A first Championship century for Sussex by Laurie Evans led a recovery by the visitors to 236-5 at the close – a lead of 108.
The home side resumed on 262-6 – a lead of seven runs – and contributions from Ben Cox, Brett D’Oliveira, Wayne Parnell and Leach stretched the total to 383 all out at lunch despite a five wicket haul from Ollie Robinson.
Sussex were able to take the second new ball immediately and, after a short break for rain, Cox and D’Oliveira completed a half century stand.
Ollie Robinson made the first breakthrough of the day when Cox (61) pushed forward and nicked through to keeper Ben Brown.His 105 ball knock contained seven fours.
Robinson struck again when D’Oliveira (31) was lbw with the total 296-8 but then Parnell followed up his four first innings wickets by stretching the lead in partnership with Leach to significant proportions.
Leach on drove Chris Jordan for four to bring up the 300 and also leg glanced him for four. He then collected two boundaries in an over from David Weise.
Parnell was also full of aggressive intent and clubbed the first ball from spinner Will Beer to the mid wicket boundary. The half century stand between the ninth wicket pair came up in just nine overs.
The partnership was extended to 68 before Parnell (43) was bowled off his legs by Luke Wells.
Leach reached his 50 from 68 balls in the grand manner with a pull for six off Robinson. It also contained eight fours.
Robinson completed his five wicket haul by bowling Finch for 0 to finish with 29.5-4-84-5 and leave Leach unbeaten on 54.
Leach then made an immediate impact when Sussex began their second innings as he trapped Luke Wells lbw for nought in the first over.
New ball partner Adam Finch then forced his namesake Harry Finch (4) to chop onto his stumps.
It became 30-3 when Will Beer (9) tried to work the first delivery from Barnard on the leg side and offered a straightforward return catch.
Four runs later Josh Dell pulled off a stunning one handed catch at cover to dismiss Stiaan van Zyl (18) at cover.
Parnell was seen clutching his left hamstring as his team-mates celebrated and he left the field after bowling four overs and did not return.
Leach also had a spell on the side-lines with his sore right buttock before returning to the action and eventually bowling a spell mid-way through the final session.
Evans and Sussex captain Ben Brown (64) added 157 in 37 overs for the fifth wicket before the latter became Barnard’s second scalp of the innings when he top edged a catch to substitute fielder Ollie Westbury at fine leg.
A boundary to Evans off Leach brought up his hundred off 140 balls with 16 fours and a six shortly before the close and he ended unbeaten on 106.