Just 45 overs were possible at drizzly Hove with Sussex’s Specsavers County Championship match against Gloucestershire destined for a draw unless the rival captains can conjure up with a final-day run chase.
Play was restricted to three spells, the lengthiest 32.1 overs in the middle session, and at stumps Gloucestershire had reached 150 for 1 in reply to Sussex’s 358 for 9 declared.
The floodlights stayed on throughout but the pink ball did little to assist Sussex’s seamers while Gloucestershire’s batsmen settled for steady accumulation on a slow pitch with a damp outfield a further frustration.
Cameron Bancroft made his second successive Championship half-century and Abi Sakande, Sussex’s promising 22-year-old seamer, was rewarded for an impressive spell with his first wicket in four-day cricket.
Sakande said: “There is real competition for places just to get into our bowling attack so I knew I had to try and perform well today. I took five wickets against South Africa A a couple of weeks ago and have felt in quite good rhythm and I was pleased to get a wicket and with a bit of luck might have got a couple more.
“It’s been a frustrating two days with the rain we’ve had but I have really enjoyed the experience. The pink ball does do a bit early on but then it gets a little soft but we stuck at it ”
But with Gloucestershire still 198 behind, it will need some imaginative declarations to ensure a decent finish with 150 overs lost so far including the entire second day.
Bancroft, the 24-year-old from Perth, showed admirable application in the tough conditions, although he would have been run out on 31 had Jofra Archer’s shy at the stumps at the non-striker’s end hit the stumps.
He put on 62 with Chris Dent before Sakande’s big moment when Dent mistimed a pull and was held at deep midwicket for 31.
Will Tavare, too, had a let-off on 17 when he drove left-arm spinner Danny Briggs to mid-on but David Wiese failed to cling on to a difficult chance above his head, despite getting both hands on the ball.
The ground was virtually deserted when play resumed for the final time at 9pm and Gloucestershire’s second wicket pair extended their stand to 82 from 27 overs with Bancroft 69 and Tavare 43 not out at stumps.