Sussex suffered a second emphatic defeat to Somerset in the space of six weeks following a spectacular batting collapse on the third day at Taunton.

Alfonso Thomas took four wicket in four balls as Sussex were bowled out for 178 in their second innings, a lead of just 103.

Somerset lost four wickets but never looked in danger as they cruised to a comfortable victory with a day to spare.

The result put Somerset top of division one and left Sussex without a win in their last six Championship matches.

The seeds of defeat were sown in the opening half hour as Thomas ripped the heart out of Sussex’s batting with a phenomenal burst of bowling.

Sussex had moved from 26-0 overnight to 33-0 when Thomas took four wickets in as many balls to remove James Anyon, Rory Hamilton-Brown, Ed Joyce and Matt Machan.

Thomas became the first Somerset player to ever achieve the feat when he removed James Anyon, Rory Hamilton-Brown, Ed Joyce and Matt Machan with successive balls.

It was only the 38th time such a feat had been achieved in the history of first class cricket and was the first in England since 2000.

Thomas became the first Somerset player to pull off the rare feat and it was something that had never been done at Taunton before.

Anyon got an inside edge onto his middle stump, Hamilton-Brown was lbw to a yorker which struck him on the boot and then Joyce – a centurion in the first innings – edged to the wicketkeeper.

That was the end of Thomas’s over but the carnage continued as Chris Nash was caught at first slip off the bowling of Peter Trego for 12.

When Thomas bowled Machan for a low full toss with the first ball of his next over Sussex had lost five wickets in the space of ten balls without adding to their score.

They recovered to an extent with Ben Brown and Luke Wright putting on 71 for the sixth wicket while Steffan Piolet and Will Beer added 56 for the ninth to at least give Sussex something to bowl at.

Sussex’s hopes of pulling off a sensational win were dented by a quickfire 27 from Johann Myburgh before he fell to Steve Magoffin.

Anyon then removed Marcus Trescothick and Alviro Petersen in quick succession to leave the locals biting their nails a little on 42-3.

But Nick Compton ensured there was not going to be a dramatic collapse as he hit an unbeaten 38, including three sixes off Beer.

James Hildreth fell to Piolet for 11 but Craig Kieswetter joined Compton and wrapped up victory in style by smashing Piolet for six.