The frailties of Sussex’s batting were cruelly exposed once again on the opening day of their County Championship clash with Somerset at Taunton.

After winning the toss and electing to bat Sussex slumped to 210-9 as all their top order failed with the exception of Ed Joyce.

Not for the first time Joyce almost single-handedly held the Sussex batting together and will need one more run to complete his fifth first class century of the season in the morning.

It could have been even worse for Sussex if Craig Keiswetter had not dropped Joyce when he had yet to score.

At that point Sussex were 16-2 having already lost Luke Wells and Rory Hamilton-Brown cheaply.

Chris Nash (15) and Matt Machan (30) threatened to offer Joyce some support but were both out before lunch with Sussex in deep trouble on 82-4.

Joyce did put on 50 with Luke Wright – off 118 balls – before the England all-rounder fell for 24, playing on trying to cut a wide ball from Peter Trego.

The Sussex skipper moved to his 50 from 142 balls but lost another partner before tea as Ben Brown was superbly caught by Johann Myburgh off the bowling of Craig Overton for seven.

Heavy rain during the tea interval held Somerset’s push to bowl Sussex out for an hour but when play did resume Steffan Piolet fell for four and Will Beer eight.

Sussex did manage to pick up a solitary batting point before James Anyon was trapped lbw by Overton for three.

Steve Magoffin survived as Joyce moved to 99 but was unable to complete his century before the close.