Steve Magoffin and Craig Overton shared the honours on a topsy-turvey second day of Sussex’s Championship clash with Somerset at Taunton.
Magoffin reduced Somerset to 39-5 in reply to Sussex’s first innings score of 214 as he blew the top order away with a terrific opening spell.
But Overton swung the momentum back in Somerset’s favour with a career-best 86 at No.9 as the hosts recovered to post 289 all out, a lead of 75.
Sussex managed to get that down to 49 at the close as openers Chris Nash and James Anyon – stepping in due to an injury to Luke Wells – survived 11 overs with few alarms.
Sussex had made a perfect start to the day after Ed Joyce – resuming on 99 – was finally dismissed having completed his fifth first class century of the season.
A score of 214 still looked well below par until Magoffin began to dismantle Somerset’s top order with a sensational opening spell.
The 34-year-old struck with his second ball when he bowled Marcus Trescothick for a duck and his 17th as he had Johann Myburgh caught behind for three.
Nick Compton and Alviro Petersen also edged through to Ben Brown having made 13 and eight respectively while James Hildreth was trapped lbw for seven.
Craig Kieswetter led the Somerset fightback after Magoffin took a well-deserved breather after a spell of 5-19 from ten overs.
Kieswetter completed his 50 shortly after lunch – from 58 balls – as he added 86 with Peter Trego for the sixth wicket.
Trego became Magoffin’s sixth victim of the match when he edged to Steffan Piolet at third slip having made 27.
Magoffin’s hopes of claiming all ten wickets were ended soon afterwards when Piolet had Kieswetter caught off a leading edge by Matt Machan at cover for 65.
At that point Somerset were 125-7 but Craig Meschede took the attack to Will Beer with a 39-ball 38 – including a massive straight six – before being well caught by Luke Wells off the bowling of Piolet.
Overton was dropped on 44 by Ed Joyce at mid-wicket to deny Magoffin a seven wicket and it proved costly as he went on to make a career-best 86.
A maiden first class century looked on the cards until he hit Rory Hamilton-Brown’s second ball straight to Chris Nash at long-on.
Hamilton-Brown then bowled Alfonso Thomas with a quicker ball for 38 to finish with career-best figures of 2-5.
Wells had strained a muscle in his side when bowling so was not allowed to open the batting. Anyon stepped in – as he did against Leicestershire in 2010 when Nash had a migraine – and helped Nash see off the new ball.
At the close Anyon was unbeaten on 16 with Nash nine not out to leave the match finely poised at the halfway stage.