WORCESTERSHIRE reduced Sussex to 32-3 before the hosts recovered to 150-5 on a rain-hit first day in County Championship Division Two at Hove.

Half-centuries by Stiaan van Zyl and Delray Rawlins led the fightback for the hosts following an uncontested toss.

Openers Luke Wells and Tom Haines were both dismissed for ducks but van Zyl (56) and Rawlins (58) led the recovery before both departed in an afternoon session cut short by bad light.

Rain arrived shortly afterwards and umpires Jerry Lloyds and Paul Baldwin abandoned play at 4pm with only 50.4 overs possible.

Worcestershire’s decision to bowl first was no surprise and they struck with the third ball when Wells, playing well away from his body, was caught behind off Ed Barnard.

After a short stoppage for a shower Haines’ leading edge ended up in the hands of mid-off from the bowling of Charlie Morris.

Then wicketkeeper Ben Cox took a catch diving in front of slip to remove Will Beer (7) and reward Barnard for a lively new-ball spell.

But gradually conditions eased as van Zyl and Rawlins began their rebuilding job. Rawlins took Sussex past 50 with successive boundaries down the ground off Morris.

Van Zyl passed 50 for the sixth time this season off 91 balls with seven boundaries.

They had put on 94 for the fourth wicket when van Zyl was caught diving forward at mid-on by stand-in skipper Hamish Rutherford to give Morris his second wicket.

He had faced 119 balls and hit eight fours.

Rawlins was struck on the shoulder by Morris and needed more treatment a few minutes later when he pulled a ball from Brett D’Oliveira into his midriff.

The batsman drove the next ball he faced from Adam Finch for his eighth boundary but then slashed outside off stump and Daryl Mitchell clung on to a sharp chance at second slip.

It was the left-hander’s third half-century of the season but like van Zyl he was frustrated to get out when seemingly well set.

England under 19 batsman Tom Clark only had time to face one ball from Finch on his debut, a bumper which he only just evaded, before the teams came off.

Barnard took 2-31 off 14 overs and Morris 2-39 from 13.