SUSSEX were unable to force victory as acting captain Adam Rossington made a battling half-century to secure Northamptonshire a draw at Wantage Road today.

Set 394 in 90 overs, Northants were struggling at 162-5 with more than 50 overs remaining but Rossington helped share two fifty partnerships to save the game.

Rossington’s 69 from 168 balls earned Northants 11 points from a third draw of the season ahead of a week off.

Sussex were denied a second victory and were forced to settle for 13 points as they head home to play Glamorgan on Monday.

But mid-afternoon, Sussex were moving swiftly towards victory as Northants lost 4-50 but the middle order resisted and the visitors were left wondering whether they declared too late.

After Ricardo Vasconcelos was held at third slip in the third over of the fourth innings, Josh Cobb and Ben Curran moved Northants comfortably to 112-1 with a stand of 99. But, as on the second afternoon, a loose shot paved the way for a collapse.

Curran wafted lazily outside off and was caught behind for 36 before Cobb shouldered arms and lost his off stump for 68 - both wickets to Mir Hamza. Cobb’s innings was his second half-century in the game but again fell short of a match-changing contribution.

Rob Keogh was then pinned on the crease by Chris Jordan, was given out lbw, and a calamitous run out of Temba Bavuma saw Northants collapse. Bavuma, lightning between the wickets, pressed down the ground for a single that Rossington refused, and running back from half-way down, Bavuma was short when David Wiese threw down the striker’s stumps.

Rossington and Luke Procter managed to steady the situation and calmly played out 17 overs in a stand of 52. 187 were needed in 37 overs after tea - an equation that became an irrelevance when, seventh ball into the final session, Hamza moved one away to take Procter’s outside edge and the home side’s hopes were tased again.

But Hutton, who only entered the game on day three as Northants’ second concussion substitute, stubbornly knocked back 104 deliveries for an unbeaten 25 to help secure a draw with his acting captain.

It left the question of whether Sussex had given themselves enough time. After Phil Salt slammed 122 from just 104 balls on the third afternoon, the visitors looked like pushing for a declaration before the close.

But a calm end to the day meant Sussex needed to come out again on the fourth morning to make their lead safe.

It took only four overs - where Ben Brown and Stiaan van Zyl added 47 - but seemed like runs that could have been made the previous evening. As it transpired, Sussex needed more time with the second new ball.