Joe Clarke produced another innings full of class but Worcestershire are facing an uphill battle in the Specsavers County Championship clash with Sussex at New Road.

The England Lions batsman reeled off a series of superb strokes in racing to 77 from just 79 balls with 12 boundaries. He cover drove Stuart Whittingham for three successive fours in an over and shared in a fourth wicket stand of 77 in 17 overs with George Rhodes.

John Hastings, accompanied by a runner, made 34 and Ed Barnard followed up his three wickets with a composed and determined knock of 30 not out. But Worcestershire ended the day on 231-8 needing 50 more runs to avoid the possibility of being asked to follow on.

Sussex resumed on 342-7 and Jofra Archer survived being bowled twice off a no ball by Barnard on seven and 29 but in between he played some powerful strokes.

Chris Jordan added only a single to his overnight 57 before he was bowled by Josh Tongue and Tom Fell produced a superb catch at mid wicket to dismiss Danny Briggs (16) off skipper Joe Leach.

Pat Brown claimed his first Championship wicket to wrap up the innings with Archer finally holing out to Fell at deep square leg for 59.

When Worcestershire batted, openers Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliveira put on 39.

Mitchell (7) drove at Archer and nicked through to Finch at second slip and D’Oliveira (27) departed in the same fashion off David Wiese.

Fell (12) then fell victim to a superb reflex catch by Archer at mid wicket as he worked Jordan off his legs. Clarke instantly looked in prime form and galloped to his fifty with nine boundaries including three in one over from Stuart Whittingham. Rhodes dug in to help him rebuild the innings but on 13 chopped spinner Danny Briggs onto his stumps.

Ben Cox (0) nicked an Archer delivery to present a third catch to Finch who then produced a brilliant diving effort in the same position to end Clarke’s fine knock off the bowling of Jordan. Leach (1) was lbw to Jordan before Barnard and Hastings added 48.

After a brief stoppage, the players returned and Hastings was instantly dismissed as Finch claimed his fifth catch at backward point off Stiaan van Zyl.