RIKI Wessels and Callum Ferguson returned to form with half-centuries as Worcestershire edged ahead on the second day of the County Championship Division Two match with Sussex.

Wessels produced the most fluent batting at Kidderminster after scoring 16 runs in his previous six Championship innings.

Ferguson reached his maiden 50 in the competition for the County in his fourth outing of the season.

With Ben Cox, the third half century-maker, Ed Barnard and Brett D’Oliveira making important lower-order runs, the hosts closed on 262-6 for a lead of seven.

Sussex resumed on 185-6 and added 70 more for their final four wickets including captain Ben Brown who was last out for 80.

He started the day on 64 not out but added his 12th boundary before giving Ed Barnard the charge and being bowled.

Paceman Adam Finch (2-41) made the first breakthrough of the day by dismissing Chris Jordan to end a partnership of 92 in 20 overs with Brown.

Jordan (52) brought up his half-century off 59 balls with a boundary but in the same over drove loosely and was caught at cover by Josh Dell.

Ollie Robinson dominated an eighth-wicket stand of 56 in 16 overs but the last three wickets tumbled for five runs.

Robinson (38) nicked Barnard (2-52) through to wicketkeeper Ben Cox and Sussex debutant Aaron Thomason (4) went lbw to Ross Whiteley before Brown’s dismissal.

Wayne Parnell finished with 4-92 after his day one success.

In reply, Robinson made his presence felt with the new ball by removing the openers.

Daryl Mitchell (0) fell to a low catch at second slip by Laurie Evans and then Dell (8) was trapped lbw in the next over.

The third-wicket pair of Wessels and Ferguson led a counter-attack with 93 runs in 25 overs.

Wessels completed a 56-ball half-century with 10 boundaries.

But Jordan broke the stand when Wessels (55) edged to Robinson who held on to a low catch at first slip.

Ferguson registered his own 50 off 111 balls with seven boundaries but then Jordan struck twice in one over.

Whiteley (21) went for an upper cut and top-edged a simple catch to mid-off before Ferguson (56) drove straight to cover at 152-5.

Cox and Barnard shepherded the County past the 200 mark, combining for 74 in 23 overs.

Luke Wells ended the partnership when Barnard (29) was lbw.

But Cox, the County’s leading run-scorer in the Championship this season, continued to score freely and reached a 78-ball 50 with six fours.

By the close he had moved on to 53 and D’Oliveira 20no.