Sussex 523 (Pujara 231, Alsop 135, Helm 5-109) and 181 for 9 (Karvelas 57, Clark 56, Helm 4-37) drew with Middlesex 485 (Simpson 109, Roland-Jones 85, Malan 64, Robson 62, Currie 6-93)
Karvelas, a Johannesburg-born Greece international, batted for over two hours to blunt the Middlesex attack after Helm’s morning burst – which earned him record match figures of 9 for 146 – had raised the prospects of a final-session run chase.
Helm picked up three wickets in 14 balls to reduce Sussex to 96 for 7, an overall lead of just 134, but a stubborn partnership of 45 between Karvelas and Archie Lenham steered the visitors towards safety.
The 28-year-old was eventually dismissed after top-scoring with 57, but by then his efforts had saved the game and the captains agreed on a draw with Sussex on 181 for 9 in their second innings.
Although Ali Orr perished cheaply for the second time in the match – run out by Toby Roland-Jones’ direct hit from mid-off – there were few indications during the opening hour that a clatter of wickets might accelerate the game.
Tom Clark batted well for a chirpy 56, hitting successive fours off Roland-Jones and also depositing Helm over the short boundary for a maximum as Sussex progressed to 53 for 1.
When Clark played on to Umesh Yadav on the stroke of lunch, Sussex had slid to 69 for 5 and were looking vulnerable – even more so after Helm claimed his fourth wicket, with Delray Rawlins taken low at first slip.
Sussex’s advantage still looked fragile when Murtagh bowled Dan Ibrahim through the gate, but Karvelas swiftly increased it by heaving a series of short-pitched deliveries from the Middlesex captain away to the short boundary.
Murtagh rotated his seamers without success as Sussex’s eighth-wicket pair repaired the damage, using up 16.2 precious overs before Roland-Jones finally made the breakthrough, with Lenham (19) leaving the ball alone as it careered back to hit off stump.
However, former Middlesex man Steven Finn joined Karvelas to snuff out any thoughts of a positive result, finishing 10 not out after his partner was finally dismissed, pushing forward at Sam Robson and offering a catch to gully.