Luke Wright helped Sussex rebuild after they lost two quick wickets after lunch on the opening day of their Championship clash with Northamptonshire at Hove.
Wright scored an unbeaten 44 and put on 50 with Ashar Zaidi and 33 with Ben Brown to help Sussex reach 199-5 at tea.
The England all-rounder helped shift the momentum back in Sussex’s favour after Ed Joyce and Steff Piolet were both dismissed in the space of seven balls.
Joyce had made 40 when he was trapped lbw by David Willey having earlier been hit painfully in the chest by the seamer.
Piolet was dropped in the slips on 18 but added only nine runs more when he edged a ball from Olly Stone which bounced and left him to the wicketkeeper.
Zaidi helped steady the ship with Wright before throwing away his wicket on 22 when he slogged across the line at a ball from spinner James Middlebrook and skied a catch to backward point.
Wright and Brown came together at 166-5 and guided Sussex to 199-5 with Brown unbeaten on 11.