Leicestershire 270 and 16 for 0 trail Sussex 430 (Alsop 182*, Pujara 77, Coles 70, Mulder 5-63) with 144 runs
Sussex gave themselves a chance to secure a second win of the season which might see them top the LV=Insurance County Championship Division Two table after forcing Leicestershire to follow suit.
The home side were dismissed for 270 in reply to Sussex’s 430 on day three at Grace Road, Ari Karvelas and Fynn Hudson-Prentice taking four wickets each as Leicestershire fought back from 160 for seven, thanks largely to Rehan Ahmed (59 not out) and Chris Wright ( 48) but fell short. They are 16 with no loss.
Should Sussex take a win on the final day they will at least move into clear second place in the table should Durham fail to secure victory over Yorkshire at Chester-le-Street where they are from held two wickets overnight but still needed 33 runs to win.
Resuming at Leicester on 319 for four, Sussex’s morning developed along the lines they had hoped for for the first 10 overs, as Alsop and Coles drove nearly five overs, extending their partnership by 48 to 169.
After 19-year-old Coles Scriven misjudged half way for a fine 70, the last six Sussex wickets in 17 overs fell for 63, which felt like an anticlimactic end to an innings they had hoped would surpass 500 runs , although putting 430 in after that was hardly an underachievement.
There was no chasing from Alsop, who overtook his previous record of 150, which he equaled against Leicestershire at Hove last summer, in the game following Coles’ death. But he needed more support and it didn’t come.
Wright generated more swing than they could have found on Friday, Wright had quickly caught Oli Carter at second slip, Scriven dismissed Hudson-Prentice leg earlier with a ball that stayed a bit low and Wright took a second wicket when Karvelas had no reply. to a full-blown labor that took his stump out.
Mulder wrapped tail to complete his second five-for in as many innings, catching Henry Crocombe on a slip and kicking out Bradley Currie for a 15-ball duck.
Nevertheless, Sussex had doubled their batting runs from two to four thanks to Alsop’s impressively measured and chanceless innings, and 430 looked a formidable total as Hudson-Prentice cut Leicestershire from 70 for one to 79 for four by taking three wickets for one run in the space of 11 deliveries.
The former Derbyshire all-rounder swept the perimeter to drop Rishi Patel behind for a clever 34 and dismissed Colin Ackermann for a two-ball duck as the former Leicestershire captain was beaten by one that hit him on the back pad.
The current captain, Lewis Hill, was similarly dismissed, although perhaps unluckily given that his front leg looked well forward and across.
All this after it appeared Hudson-Prentice had injured himself bowling his first ball, limping back to his target while bending his left leg, though somehow all was well by the end of the over. When he did rest, it was with figures of three for 12 from seven overs.
Deprived of both of their leading wicket-takers, Ollie Robinson in command of England and Nathan McAndrew to clear an overseas slot for Smith, this Sussex seam attack feels inexperienced.
Still, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sussex’s captain, used his resources well, maintained lines of attack and turned wisely. Karvelas and Currie, both making their first appearances of the season, removed Mulder and Australian wicketkeeper batter Peter Handscomb in the first four overs after tea, leaving Leicestershire six for 135.
Mulder was pinned at the front by Karvelas before Handscomb, who has been the basis of Leicestershire’s improved form this season, moved behind Currie. When Crocombe produced the ball of the day to bowl Scriven Leicestershire were 160 for seven.
Wright looked to get his side out of trouble and threatened to do so, hitting 48 from 41 balls in an entertaining flurry of six fours and netting a six over square leg as he and Ahmed pulled up 69 for the eighth wicket.
But Karvelas, having seen Ahmed fall at a gully on 34, removed Wright through a lead behind, putting the pressure back on Leicestershire with the follow-up target still 52 runs away.
Another 40 added by Ahmed with Will Davis brought Leicestershire tantalizingly close but Davis was taken off Hudson-Prentice at first slip and Ahmed’s attempts to protect last man Josh Hull from Hudson-Prentice by taking a leg-bye from the fifth ball from a Karvelas on a backfiring as the latter hit Hull’s front pad right in front.