Coach Mark Robinson believes his winter experience with England Lions has helped put Sussex on course for victory at Lancashire.
Robinson led a successful Lions tour to Sri Lanka in February and has likened the Old Trafford pitch to the ones he came across in Kandy and Colombo.
That experience turned out to be invaluable as Sussex forced home their dominance on day three of their County Championship match by bowling out Lancashire for just 191.
Sussex then made 216-5 to give them an imposing lead of 323 as they chase a third win out of four this season which would see them reclaim top spot in division one.
Robinson said: “It is a very slow wicket. It is very dry and is turning a bit with lots of rough so you have to work hard on it and can’t force the pace.
“The surface is very similar to the ones in Sri Lanka so it was nice to be able to use that experience to good effect. “You set out the plan which was to be patient and keep the pressure on them but plans are only as good as the people who execute them and the bowlers did it brilliantly.
“They all bowled really well but the seamers were outstanding. Steve Magoffin led the way but Luke Wright bowled well and Ashar (Zaidi) did exactly what we asked of him.
“It was a great effort to bowl them out for under 200 but what you don’t want to do is give the initiative back by losing early wickets so it was important we batted well second time around too.”
Lancashire resumed on 157-6 in the morning hoping Tom Smith and Alex Davies could continue their partnership of 77 which had rescued them from a perilous position on the previous day. Those hopes were shattered in the sixth over of the day as Jon Lewis had Smith caught behind one short of his half century.
Davies did make his 50 but was out shortly afterwards as he mistimed a drive off Wright and was caught at mid-off by Zaidi.
Zaidi removed Simon Kerrigan – stumped by Ben Brown – to pick up his second wicket before Magoffin trapped Kyle Jarvis lbw to finish with figures of 4-36.
Sussex lost stand-in skipper Chris Nash cheaply as they pushed to consolidate their position but Mike Yardy followed up his century in the first innings by making 45 while Rory Hamilton-Brown added 44.
Matt Machan is unbeaten on 44 but may not get a chance to reach his half century if the forecast bad weather prompts Sussex to declare in the morning.
Robinson said: “The forecast isn’t good but we can’t do anything about that. All we can do is stick to our gameplan and hopefully there will be enough time to get a result.
“We could possibly pull out now because we have a healthy lead already but we’ll have to see whether we start on time before making a decision.”