County Championship: Machan century puts Sussex on top
|LV= County Championship Division One, Taunton (close, day three)|
|Sussex 208 & 311-2: Machan 137 not out, Nash 76 not out, Joyce 66|
|Somerset 274: Hildreth 82, Trego 81, Overton 53; Robinson 4-79|
|Sussex lead by 245 runs|
|Somerset 5 pts, Sussex 4 pts|
Matt Machan's brisk 137 not out on day three boosted Sussex's victory hopes in their Division One game with Somerset.
The 24-year-old reached his ton off only 113 balls and guided the visitors to a lead of 245 runs at the close.
Captain Ed Joyce made 66 and Chris Nash (76no) also contributed as Sussex ended the day's play at Taunton on 311-2.
Earlier, Somerset took a first-innings lead of 66 runs before being bowled out for 274, with Craig Overton hitting a powerful 53 not out off 44 balls.
An excellent fifth-wicket partnership between Peter Trego and James Hildreth had brought Somerset back into contention on day two, but their good work looked like being undone when the home side lost three wickets in seven balls early on the third morning.
Ollie Robinson (4-79) bowled Trego for 81, while Steve Magoffin (3-61) removed Lewis Gregory and Michael Bates in successive deliveries in the next over.
Hildreth fell 18 runs short of a century, edging a ball from Robinson to Joyce at first slip.
Overton struck five fours and two sixes in an innings packed with expansive shots, reaching his second first-class half-century of the summer off just 39 balls, but he ran out of partners.
Alfonso Thomas dismissed Sussex opener Luke Wells for nine shortly after lunch, but left-handers Joyce and Machan pressed on during the afternoon, adding 122 in 24.4 overs for the second wicket before Joyce was caught by Thomas at fine leg off the bowling of Trego.
While Sussex captain Joyce is still without a first-class hundred in 2015, Machan brought up three figures for the second time this season as Somerset failed to take a wicket after tea.
Machan and Nash slowed their scoring rate in the closing overs, but will look to extend their unbroken third-wicket partnership of 161 on the fourth morning before a likely declaration.
Somerset batsman James Hildreth:
"It was a disappointing day for us and we shouldn't be in this position after where we were at the end of day two.
"It's easy for me as a batsman to sit back and criticise the bowlers, but I felt that after a good start we could have applied greater pressure with more dot balls.
"We were also disappointed not to add more to our overnight score because, although the pitch was doing a bit, there were runs to be had if you played yourself in."
Sussex batsman Matt Machan:
"I made my maiden century for Sussex at Taunton in 2013 so the ground has happy memories for me. But I've also had two first ball ducks here, including one in this match.
"It's great batting with senior players like Ed Joyce and Chris Nash so I really enjoyed the day.
"Hopefully, Chris will push on to a hundred tomorrow and we can make enough runs to win the game with the ball."