REECE TOPLEY returned to red-ball cricket with a bang as he helped promotion chasers Sussex finish day one on top against Derbyshire.

The England seamer has been under no pressure to play four-day cricket after relaunching an injury-hit career with Sussex but 16 overs with the second XI last week paved the way for him to be included in the squad.

And he marked his return to first-class cricket after an absence of more than two years with two wickets as Sussex bowled out the hosts cheaply to bolster their promotion hopes in County Championship division two.

Topley admitted even he was stunned to be playing a leading role as the season bubbles up towards an exciting conclusion.

He said: “Two years ago if I had been told I would be playing red-ball cricket again I might not have believed you but I’ve followed a rigid plan to come back and I’m thankful I’ve got this opportunity to play again.”

He added: “The first session was a bit alien still with field placings and how it’s different from limited overs but I’m really happy we’ve put together a decent bowling performance.”