Worcestershire fell agonisingly five runs short of a mammoth run chase as their LV= Insurance County Championship thriller against Sussex at Hove ended in a draw.

Set a huge target of 386 in 78 overs at 4.94 runs an over, Azhar Ali made 101 and Jake Libby followed up his first-innings 198 with 97.

And the Pears looked on course for victory with Ali still there and 16 needed off the last two overs with four wickets in hand.

But, three balls after reaching his century with a leg glance which brought him a 15th boundary, Pakistan batter Ali was yorked by Ari Karvelas.

Usman Mir was then superbly caught at mid-wicket by Sussex captain Tom Alsop off the first ball of the final over when Worcestershire needed eight to win.

Australian Nathan McAndrew only conceded three off the next five balls, leaving Joe Leach the opportunity to win the game with a six off the last delivery, but he failed to connect and the contest between second and third in Division Two of the Championship ended in a draw with Worcestershire closing on 381-8.

Alsop, who had earlier completed an unbeaten hundred, deserved credit for maintaining attacking fields until near the end and his bowlers kept plugging away on an unresponsive surface at the 1st Central County Ground.

But having got so close Ali will be disappointed that his century was not enough to get his team over the line.

Alsop had earlier gone through to his second hundred of the season before Sussex declared after an hour's batting once they added 88 in 15 overs.

Alsop, who is leading Sussex for the next four Championship games in the absence of India's Cheteshwar Pujara, wasn't at his most fluent but it was a valuable contribution given that he came in on the second day and watched four wickets go down at the other end in 10 overs.

He extended the seventh-wicket stand with Jack Carson to 150 - of which Carson contributed a well-constructed 75 with eight fours and three sixes, his second half-century of the match.

Carson was run out coming back for a second, beaten by Ali's throw from deep mid-wicket, but Henry Shipley added a rapid 28 from 16 balls including successive sixes off Mir before Alsop took a single off the Pakistan leg-spinner to reach the ninth hundred of his career, made in five hours with 10 fours.

Worcestershire launched their chase confidently enough, Libby and Gareth Roderick scoring at the required rate before Karvelas broke the partnership on 74 in the fourth over after lunch with a ball which straightened enough to beat Roderick's defensive stroke.

Libby would have been run out had Shipley hit the stumps with a throw from mid-wicket when he was on 69 while he seemed to relish some peppery verbal exchanges with McAndrew, who was warned for running down the wicket during a six-over spell.

But Libby slowed up as he approached three figures and he fell agonisingly short. With his fourth ball after switching ends, Carson found a modicum of turn and the edge deflected off keeper Oli Carter's gloves into Alsop's hands at slip.

Jack Haynes contributed 44 to a third-wicket alliance of 94 in 18 overs until he was leg before trying to work McAndrew through square.

Adam Hose then upped the tempo by taking 15 off a Carson over as he struck 47 off 40 balls before thick-edging behind off Fynn Hudson-Prentice.

McAndrew picked up Brett D'Oliveira, who chipped to mid-wicket, but Matthew Waite wielded the long handle effectively with 18 off 11 balls and he appeared to be putting his side in the driving seat only to hole out to deep mid-wicket.

Ali did his best, but McAndrew and Karvelas bowled outstandingly under pressure at the end.