James Taylor scored his first LV County Championship hundred of the season as Nottinghamshire eventually dominated an absorbing first day against Sussex at Horsham.
The 25-year-old has had a modest season by his standards but he clearly enjoys facing the Sussex attack. His unbeaten 163 was his third score of over 150 against them, following 163 in 2012 and 204 in 2013, and helped his side reach 358 for 5 at stumps.
There were two periods in the game when Sussex had control. Ollie Robinson, who finished the day with four wickets, helped reduce Notts to 30 for 3 before returning in the afternoon to claim Rikki Wessels (94) and Samit Patel in successive overs.
That left Notts 186 for 5 but Taylor and his captain, Chris Read, wrested the initiative for their side after tea by extending their sixth wicket stand to 174.
While Wessels deserved credit for his aggressive counter-attack it was the understated but effective way with which Taylor went about his business which most impressed.
His first 50 runs took 119 balls but he went to his hundred from 71 more before accelerating once he’d reached the milestone with some eye-catching shots, particularly through the off side.
By stumps he had faced 247 balls and hit 23 fours, having batted for five hours 40 minutes so far. It was his tenth score of over 150.
It is three years since Taylor played the last of his two Tests and he lost his England one-day place for the recent series against New Zealand. But as the inquest into England’s hammering in the second Test begins, the 25-year-old will be hoping that this innings can be the start of a productive end to the season.
Notts certainly needed him to be at his phlegmatic best after their top order had been wrecked by Robinson and Matt Hobden.
Robinson made the breakthrough in the sixth over, removing Alex Hales (3) courtesy of a juggling catch at second slip by Chris Nash. Hobden had Brendan Taylor (7) lbw working to leg with his fourth ball before Robinson picked up Steven Mullaney with a ball which seamed just enough to take the edge.
On a quick-scoring ground Wessels was soon into his stride, taking just 48 balls over his 50 which included a six over mid-wicket off Peter Burgoyne.
After lunch Wessels and Taylor extended their fourth-wicket stand to 144 from 38 overs before Robinson made his double strike.
Wessels chipped a catch to Luke Wells at mid on, having hit 13 fours and a six from 199 balls faced, before Patel (5) was held in his follow through by Robinson.
Steve Magoffin bowled without luck and Luke Wells was unfortunate to have Read dropped at slip on 35 by Ed Joyce, but otherwise Taylor and Read made unflustered progress in the evening session, even after Sussex took the new ball. Read reached his 50 with a boundary past the diving Luke Wright at third slip just before stumps.
A dry pitch is expected to turn by the fourth day and Notts have recalled 40-year-old slow left-armer Gary Keedy for his first Championship appearance of the season.