Callum Ferguson hit his first Specsavers County Championship half century for Worcestershire and then praised the fighting qualities of the team in earning a first innings lead by the end of day two against Sussex at Kidderminster.

The classy Australian batsman, Riki Wessels and red ball vice-captain Ben Cox all passed the fifty mark as Worcestershire recovered from 11-2 to reach 262-6 from 80 overs at stumps – a lead of seven runs.

The second new ball will be due immediately at the start of day three – a crucial period of play as Worcestershire look to build on their promising position and obtain a substantial advantage.

Ferguson, who top-scored with 56, said: “It was a gutsy fightback – and they bowled really well and made us fight for every run.

“We had to work really hard and there is enough in the wickets for the bowlers and we tried to be as disciplined as we could, really grafted and softened the ball as much as possible.

“They bowled quite well and it was a really pleasing effort after the start to get into the position we are in now.”

Ferguson added 93 for the third wicket with Wessels who raced to a 56 ball half century with 10 boundaries and entertained the Chester Road crowd.

He said: “Riki has had a tough couple of games but we know he is a quality player and we keep backing him to play his way which tends to a bit more of an aggressive style than some.

“He counter-punched quite nicely today for us and managed to get the board moving for us in that partnership.

“We benefitted from his positive play and it’s great to see him get some runs for the hard work he puts in.”

Ferguson looked in good nick in his fourth Championship match for the County.

He said: “I feel like I’m batting really well. I’ve probably not made the runs I would have liked to so far in the red ball stuff.

“But I’ve had some really good starts and feel like I’m starting to get some good rhythm which is good.

“It would have been nice to push on and get a bigger score but it is a bit of a momentum builder I guess. It felt like I was moving okay.”

Cox, the County’s leading run-getter in Championship cricket this summer, again demonstrated his quality with an unbeaten 53 and he and Ed Barnard added 74 for the sixth wicket when the game was in the balance at 152-5.

Ferguson said: “Ben Cox is a fantastic cricketer and we talk in our dressing room that if we keep putting the hard yards in then the game will turn for us at some stage.

“Coxy has put in some really hard yards. He is a really hard trainer and he deserves all the runs he gets.

“He put in a really solid hand at the back end of the day against some real quality bowling.

“It is a wicket that offers a bit with the new ball and we will be fighting tooth and nail in that first half hour tomorrow and trying to get ourselves into a position where the shine is off it and we can push on a little.”