Kent 215 and 125 for 4 lead Sussex 181 (Burgess 54, Henry 4-69) by 159 runs
Kent hold a slight edge over Sussex in an engaging clash at the top of Division Two after ending the second day with a 159-run lead with six wickets remaining.
Ollie Robinson, Sussex’s allrounder, believes Sussex need to strike quickly on Sunday. “The overheads today have been more helpful for the bowlers with a bit of cloud around and the wicket has a bit of live grass in it, which always helps with a bit of nip,” he said. “Anything under 250 we’ll fancy our chances, any more than that, then it’s possibly in Kent’s favour.”
When bad light stopped play soon at 5pm, Kent’s fifth-wicket partners Zak Crawley and Adam Rouse had contributed 31 to the cause in the face of a fiery, two for 26 bowling stint from India pace bowler Ishant Sharma.
Batting for a second time, with a potentially precious lead of 34, Kent lost Daniel Bell-Drummond nine balls in when the out-of-sorts opener fenced at a lifting leg-cutter from Ishant to be caught behind.
Ishant also accounted for Sean Dickson with another, near unplayable delivery, this time a shooting off-cutter that grubbed back into the right-hander and pegged back off stump as Dickson shouldered arms.
Kuhn and his acting captain Joe Denly added 55 either side of tea but their third-wicket stand was broken after 11.5 overs when Robinson rushed one through bat and pad to win an appeal for a catch at the wicket.
Three balls after taking a blow on the right hand from South African compatriot David Wiese, Kuhn, when just three runs short of his second 50 of the match, nicked Wiese’s awayswinger to second slip.
Kent had earlier dismissed Sussex for 181 inside 44 overs. Kiwi paceman Matt Henry was again the pick of the home attack, claiming 4 for 69 overall, as the hosts claimed one wicket during a rain-ruined first session of 11.4 overs.
Henry had Luke Wright caught at second slip following a hesitant defensive prod 12 minutes into the second day, after which Kent returned following an early lunch to polish the job off – taking the last five Sussex wickets for 63 runs – despite losing seamer Grant Stewart from their attack with a recurrence of his hamstring injury.
Ben Brown and Michael Burgess eased the Sussex total into three figures in adding 40 for the sixth wicket but the partnership ended during a highly unusual double-wicket maiden soon after lunch.
Brown, on 30 and with his side still 97 in arrears, aimed to pull a good length delivery from Italian-born all-rounder Stewart, only to chop the ball onto his stumps. Stewart limped off three balls later with a hamstring niggle, leaving Ivan Thomas to bowl one delivery to complete the over. Robinson, the next man in, made a late decision to shoulder arms to a Thomas awayswinger but succeeded in toe-ending a catch to keeper Adam Rouse.
The Sussex tail, led by Burgess and Wiese, continued to counter attack adding 40 in six overs. Henry gave way after bowling 10 overs either side of lunch and his replacement, Calum Haggett struck with his first delivery of the match having Wiese caught in the gully off a sliced drive.
Burgess, on 54, finally perished taking one risk too many. Smearing across the line against Podmore, he holed out to cow corner to gift Podmore a second scalp and Kent their modest lead.