Danny Briggs took four for 85 as Hampshire hit back on day two of the Championship clash with Sussex.
After being bowled out for a below par score of 206 on day one, Briggs took the initiative to help his side claw their way back into the game, with Sussex all out for 240.
And although Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson fell before the close of play, Michael Carberry’s (pictured right) 19 not out edged Dominic Cork’s men to 61-2 at stumps, an overall lead of 27 runs.
Earlier in the day, Sussex would have been confident of building a good score with Murray Goodwin and Luke Wells sharing 63 for the third wicket.
That was until Briggs struck, the former Ventnor bowler trapping Goodwin (28) leg before wicket, setting the tone for Cork to get in on the act.
The skipper soon forced England keeper Matt Prior to nick behind to Neil McKenzie with a rising delivery which flew off the surface.
Briggs then took two more victims to put Hants firmly in the ascendancy.
Wells looked neat on his way to an efficient 49, but in looking for the big shot to bring up his half-century, he was stumped by Michael Bates.
Then Andrew Hodd was snared leg before and Sussex were in a precarious position of 142-6.
It could have been even better for the visitors; when running a poorly taken single, Ollie Rayner was stranded in the middle of the track just waiting to be dismissed. Cork’s shy at the stumps though, was well wide of the mark.
A seventh did fall shortly afterwards, Briggs striking again to remove Rana Naved before Imran Tahir had Monty Panesar caught at mid-on to leave Sussex in trouble at 179-8.
But Rayner made the most of his earlier good fortune to post a crucial 61 not out and put his team into a first innings advantage.
Kabir Ali and Tahir put a stop to both of the spinner’s partnerships though, removing James Anyon and Amjad Khan respectively to clean up the Sussex tail and put Hampshire back into bat.
And despite the departure of both openers, the match is finely balanced going in to day three.