Middlesex 284 for 6 (Simpson 71, Holden 58, Hollman 52*, Robinson 3-37) trail Sussex 392 (Alsop 113, Orr 99, Garton 53) by 108 runs
The 28-year-old hasn’t played since January when he suffered back spasms during the Ashes series. An infection delayed his return to domestic action, but he wasted little time in making his presence felt by bowling Sam Robson with his fifth ball before striking again in the first over of both his second and third spells.
Robinson sent down two five-over spells and had another three-over burst after tea to finish with three for 37 from his 13 overs as Middlesex replied to Sussex’s 392 with 284 for 6 before bad light ended play seven overs early.
He made an inauspicious start – his first delivery was a no ball – but after bowling an away-swinger at Robson he moved one back off the seam to knock out off stump as Robson, who made 235 when the teams last met in September, offered no shot.
It was an impressive effort by Robinson who was well backed up by the rest of the Sussex attack.
The left-armer Sean Hunt removed Robbie White with his sixth delivery, although White also went after a ball well wide of off stump and Handscomb’s dismissal left Middlesex in trouble 45 for 4.
But Simpson and Holden prospered during the afternoon although Simpson was dropped at extra cover on 31 by Cheteshawar Pujara off leg-spinner Mason Crane’s first ball.
It took a fine delivery from Robinson to separate the two left-handers, but Holden reached his second half-century of the summer which included an upper-cut six off Garton that smashed a window in one of the flats overlooking the ground.
Earlier, Sussex’s last four wickets had fallen in 31 balls for the addition of 29 runs as their first innings ended on 392, which would have been a disappointment after they’d been 246 for 2 on the first day.
Garton reached a 75-ball fifty before he thick-edged to second slip, the first of two wickets for Andersson whose slower ball foxed Robinson, who drove to long on.