Sussex's top-order batsmen have been urged to up their game as the red balls come back out at Arundel.

And they showed signs of responding in the opening session against Durham today.

Sussex had reached 130-1 at lunch after being asked to bat first. Phil Salt and Tom Haines had both passed 50.

The county resumed Specsavers County Championship action knowing they need more from their specialist run-makers.

None of the top five who played in the last four-dayer, away to Kent in mid-May, are averaging 30.

And the pick of the quintet, Stiaan van Zyl on 26.33, is out for the foreseeable future with a knee injury.

Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie loves the batting firepower he has in mid and lower order

But, speaking ahead of today's start, he said the early batsmen must do better.

Gillespie told The Argus: “We haven’t quite nailed it in our top five.

“As with any team, you want your top five doing the vast majority of the work.

“That is a good opportunity. I am looking forward to seeing our batters get the job done.

“They have been working incredibly hard. For batsmen in general around the country it was a tricky start to the season.

“We just need a couple of big partnerships and to get our side off to a really good start.

“We have got firepower in the middle and lower order but we certainly don’t want to be relying on our lads in the middle order to do all our work.

“We need the top six to do the bulk of the work and I am confident they will be able to do that.”

Luke Wells, such a success last season after recovering from injury, has a century to his name but averages a modest 26 in the Championship and fell for eight this morning.

Harry Finch is on 25.44, Luke Wright 24.55 and Phil Salt 17.33.

Wells and Wright are experienced campaigners who will come good at some stage.

Finch has posted three figures in both four-day and one-day cricket this season.

Salt is more of an unknown quantity in the role of Championship opener.

But he is not the type to die wondering and has the attacking style which matches Gillespie’s commitment to positive cricket, though he was watchful this morning.

David Wiese tops the Sussex batting averages in the Championship with 49.75 including his early-season hundred at Warwickshire.

He is followed by Ben Brown on 49.42 and Michel Burgess on exactly 44.

Sussex academy graduate Haines made the most of an unexpected call-up to score his maiden championship 50 today.

Left-hander Haines, 19 and from Crawley, replaced Chris Jordan who had been called up by England Lions on Tuesday evening. This is only his third Championship game, and his first since 2016.

Durham, taking advantage of an uncontested toss, bowled first under heavy skies and removed  Wells, caught by Tom Latham at second slip off Matt Salisbury in only the fourth over.

But the new, flat pitch suited the Sussex batsmen more than the Durham bowlers and Salt and Haines figured in an unbroken second wicket stand of 121 in 27 overs.

Salt is better known for his exploits in the white ball game but although he reached his 50 an over earlier than Haines he took 57 balls to get there while his young partner needed just 55 deliveries.

At lunch Haines was 62 not out, with ten fours, while Salt was unbeaten on 59, with eight fours and a six.