Ed Barnard continued the fine form shown at Cheltenham by picking up three wickets as Worcestershire returned to Specsavers County Championship action against Sussex at New Road.

The all-rounder followed up his 4-93 in the first innings against Gloucestershire with 3-55 and bowled with a good rhythm as Sussex closed on 342-7 after electing to bat.

The visitors were 49-3 at one stage but a first century of the season from Chris Nash led a recovery aided by Luke Wells and Chris Jordan plus a couple of dropped chances.

Opener Angus Robson (0) was handed a debut by Sussex but lasted only three deliveries before edging skipper Joe Leach to keeper Ben Cox who pulled off a superb low catch in front of first slip.

It became 7-2 as Harry Finch also failed to trouble the scorers in nicking England Under-19 paceman Josh Tongue through to Cox.

Barnard’s second delivery accounted for Stiaan van Zyl (24) and this time George Rhodes reacted sharply at first slip.

But that led to the arrival in the middle of Nash who joined Wells for the first of two crucial stands.

Wells had a let off on 32 when Daryl Mitchell spilled a low chance at second slip off John Hastings with the total on 71.

Wells, who had scored 155 in the game between the counties at Hove this season, looked set for another hundred.

But on 85 the left hander went for an expansive drive in Rhodes first over and Mitchell clung onto the chance.

Nash was joined by Jordan and they further cemented Sussex’s recovery.

Worcestershire claimed the second new ball and Mitchell did not grasp a chance offered by Nash on 118 off Tongue.

But his fine knock ended in the next over as he was trapped lbw by Leach without addition to his score. Nash batted in total for 202 balls and struck 16 fours.

Jordan went to his half century off 98 balls but there was time for the persevering Barnard to claim his third wicket as David Wiese (22) gave Cox his fourth catch.