Sussex honoured victims of Covid-19 and made a strong anti-racism statement as their season started at last today.

The county started a four-day fixture versus Hampshire in the Bob Willis Trophy.

Sussex were bowled out for 176 having won the toss but fought back late on to have Hampshire 77-4 in reply.

Players stood in silence before the match to remember those who have died due to coronavirus.

They then took the knee in a show of backing for Black Lives Matter.

A supportive message was shown on the scoreboards.

Stands stood empty at the 1st Central County Ground, as will be the case until further notice.

Play was halted every half-hour for hygiene breaks, allowing players to clean and sanitise their hands.

And umpires Billy Taylor and Ian Gould were suitably social-distanced in ad-hoc changing facilities in what are normally sponsors’ lounges opposite the pavilion.

Phil Salt offered a sense of normality by going on the attack from the off.

Salt recently scored a spectacular century for England’s one-day side in a warm-up against Ireland and was unlucky not to make the cut for the series proper.

He scored 68 from 83 balls today, including 11 fours, and looked well set for three figures before miscuing an attempted pull shot and falling victim to a super reflex return catch by James Fuller.

Skipper Ben Brown went first ball, edging behind to academy graduate Ajeet Dale as the 20-year-old took 3-20. Mason Crane claimed 3-23.

Sussex reached some sort of respectability thanks largely to 54 not out from George Garton.

The highlight of the reply from a home viewpoint was arguably a maiden first-class wicket for spinner Jack Carson with only his second delivery on debut as he had Joe Weatherley caught behind.

Hampshire were 61-1 until that breakthrough but momentum changed again in the final hour as Ollie Robinson returned to bowl skipper Tom Alsop (21) and have night-watchman Crane caught behind for a duck