Chris Read scored his 1100th run of the season and will resume day two unbeaten on 78 after Notts closed on 294-8 against relegation-haunted Sussex.
Needing to take 20 wickets to stand any chance of avoiding relegation, Sussex won the toss and elected to field but made little progress in a morning session punctuated by the sole dismissal of Alex Hales who went lbw to Lewry.
Hales shared an opening stand of 70 alongside Bilal Shafayat who struck a four off the first ball of the day and went on to make a useful 45 before Samit Patel joined Mark Wagh at the crease and shared a 51-run partnership.
Samit deflected a Martin-Jenkins delivery on to his stumps and was quickly followed by younger brother Akhil who went for a fourth ball duck on his Championship debut, lbw to Dwayne Smith.
The wobble continued when Ali Brown edged to Rory Hamilton-Brown at second slip for 10 but that signalled the arrival of Read, the model of consistency for Nottinghamshire this season, and his 78 included 10 fours and a six.
Indian spinner Piyush Chawla removed Mark Wagh (67), Mark Ealham (13) and Andre Adams (3) as Notts lost three wickets for just 54 runs to cap an encouraging evening session for the vistors.
“Chris Read looked the most comfortable of all of our batsmen and he didn’t play and miss in the way that some of the others did but there’s a bit going on and the ball was seaming around,” said Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket Mick Newell.
“We’re reasonably happy with where we find ourselves because we thought at the start of the play that 300 would be a decent score but every point is crucial and we have to try and put on more runs in the morning.”
Elsewhere, Warwickshire collapsed to 148 all out to enhance Notts prospects of a second-placed finish.