Delray Rawlins and Michael Burgess led a Sussex fight back after promotion-chasing Nottinghamshire had reduced the county to 107 for 5 on the first day of the Specsavers County Championship match at the 1st Central County Ground, Hove.
The pair, who boast just 18 first-class appearances between them, batted through the final session to take Sussex to 230 for 5 from 66.3 overs when bad light stopped play, adding 123 in 33.1 overs for the sixth wicket.
Second-placed Nottinghamshire need 12 points to seal promotion from Division Two and had a measure of control after a three-wicket burst by Steven Mullaney with the new ball.
The toss was uncontested and when play began at 1pm following morning rain Nottinghamshire’s seamers took advantage of ideal bowling conditions with heavy cloud cover and the ball swinging and darting off the seam.
Mullaney’s victims included skipper Luke Wells who held Sussex's top order together with an excellent 46 before he was lbw to one that skidded on in the last over before tea.
Mullaney also had Chris Nash (19) to a catch in the gully and trapped Laurie Evans lbw for one when Evans missed a straight ball he was working to leg.
Luke Wood had made the breakthrough in his third over when Harry Finch (10) edged a good out-swinger to Chris Read, who is making the final appearance of his career.
Phil Salt helped Wells take Sussex to 51 before he drove a slower ball from Brett Hutton to cover for 16. That was the seamer’s 37th victim of the season and made him Nottinghamshire’s leading wicket taker.
When Wells was out Nottinghamshire were in control and their position would have been even stronger had Rawlins not been badly dropped at mid-wicket by Chet Pujara on nought.
He took 15 balls to get off the mark but the former England under-19 all-rounder began to play with increasing confidence, hitting Samit Patel’s fourth ball back over his head for six.
Burgess, who signed his first contract with Sussex last week, was soon into his stride, a couple of square drives off successive balls from Hutton the pick of the nine boundaries he hit in his half-century, which he reached with a slog sweep off Patel for six.
When bad light stopped play with 8.3 overs remaining, Burgess had progressed to 67 from 94 balls while Rawlins reached his maiden Championship half-century shortly before stumps. So far, he has faced 123 balls and hit seven boundaries and a six.
Sussex 1st Innings
..46 (96) Luke Wells LBW Steven Mullaney ..10 (14) Harry Finch c Chris Read b Luke Wood ..16 (31) Philip Salt c Cheteshwar Pujara b Brett Hutton ..01 (04) Laurie Evans LBW Steven Mullaney ..19 (39) Chris Nash c Brett Hutton b Steven Mullaney ..55 (123) Delray Rawlins Not Out ..67 (94) Michael Burgess Not Out ..16 Extras (4nb-1b-11lb) 230 Total for 5 Wickets after 66.3 overs
Fall of Wickets: 1-20 (Finch), 2-51 (Salt), 3-52 (Evans), 4-100 Nash), 5-107 (Wells)
16.-7-50-1 Brett Hutton 13.-0-57-1 Luke Wood 18.-5-39-3 Steven Mullaney 12.-1-41-0 Harry Gurney 7.0-0-33-0 Samit Patel