If Sussex end the season enjoying the golden glow of promotion in some pleasant autumnal sunshine, they can look back on this bitterly cold springtime win as a launchpad.

What was supposed to have been brisk fourth-day business in completing victory over Gloucestershire instead took them deep into the final session.

But the masterful touch of Cheteshwar Pujara saw Sussex to their target of 144 with four wickets remaining.

The India star was a cool head in numbing cold which felt more like February as wickets fell at the other end.

It will not stand out in the stats when the tale of Pujara’s season is complete.

But his unbeaten, patient 44 not out from 102 balls was precious in the circumstances and Danny Lamb’s unbeaten 17 helped see the hosts over the line.

No one at Hove is getting carried away by being top of Vitality County Championship division two after three games.

But a win on the board after having the upper hand in two draws is a great starting point.

They feel like a serious outfit this year, certainly with the current line-up for the opening batch of seven games.

We will see what happens after that but there is reason for optimism.

Sussex will have arrived in the sunshine of yesterday morning with a spring in their step and cautious hopes of wrapping up the job quickly with Gloucestershire effectively 19-6.

But they endured a wicketless, and pretty much chanceless, first session.

Miles Hammond and Zafar Gohar batted through those two hours and added 75 runs to the overnight lead.

There was precious little for Sussex to shout about.

Jack Carson had a leg-before appeal and then beat the edge just before lunch.

And Hammond fended off a rising Jayden Seales delivery in the air but a few yards short of Tom Haines at extra cover.

But that was about it as the hosts went through an array of bowling options without success – including Tom Alsop straight after lunch.

Carson eased the nerves with two lbw’s in three balls in the fourth over of the afternoon session, removing Hammond for 77 and Dom Goodman for nought.

The ninth wicket added 39 but, armed with the second new ball, Seales came back to finish the innings with two deliveries.

He saw Gohar drive to Carson at extra cover for 52 and then had Ajeet Dale caught in the slips by James Coles to finish with 4-18 from his 16.2 overs.

Set 144 to win, Sussex lost wickets too often to make it comfortable.

Left-arm spinner Gohar opened the attack from the Sea End and took 5-59 from his unbroken 18.4-over stint amid increasing tension.

Haines (13) was stumped dancing down the pitch as the hosts looked to get on with it, possibly wary of the weather as grey clouds massed overhead.

And Alsop looked very unfortunate with the decision which sent him back lbw as the ball jagged back and seemed to be missing leg stump by some distance.

Hopes that Pujara and John Simpson would guide them home ended when the latter drove Goodman to Ollie Price at mid-wicket for 25.

Fynn Hudson-Prentice soon followed for one, looking to sweep Gohar.

That was probably as edgy as it got for Sussex and there might have been times in the past when the run chase would have subsided or stalled.

But Pujara was the kingpin and Lamb a solid sidekick as Sussex got there with a bit of time to spare.

It is not being wise after the event to say it always felt like they would finish the job.

And that has to be a good sign.