Bob Willis Trophy: Cox & Leaning centuries put Kent in front against Sussex

Kent's Jordan Cox
Jordan Cox (right) is congratulated by Jack Leaning after bringing up his century at Canterbury
Bob Willis Trophy, Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence (day two):
Sussex 332: Brown 98, Clark 65; Podmore 4-85
Kent 338-1: Cox 167*, Leaning 110*
Kent (6 pts) lead Sussex (3 pts) by six runs

Teenager Jordan Cox and winter recruit Jack Leaning notched their first centuries for Kent as they took control of their Bob Willis Trophy game against Sussex.

The visitors endured an 85-over day for only one wicket as Kent's second-wicket pair piled on a record unbroken stand worth 231, beating the club's previous best against Sussex of 229 between Arthur Fagg and Leslie Ames at Hastings in 1948.

By stumps and the midpoint of the match, Cox had reached a career-best 167 not out, while Leaning finished unbeaten on 110 as Kent closed on 338-1 for a narrow six-run lead.

Cox, a 19-year-old right-hander who only opened in this match in the absence of Kent's England duo Joe Denly and Zak Crawley, cruised through the so-called 'nervous 90s' within six deliveries to post his maiden century from 150 balls with 16 fours and a brace of sixes.

A Kent Academy product playing only his second first-class innings on the ground, he moved to three figures with a huge six over long-on off Jack Carson.

The England Under-19 batsman started the Kent response to Sussex's 332 all out by featuring in a first-wicket stand worth 107 with Daniel Bell-Drummond, who fell after lunch for 43 when Mitch Claydon got one to hold its line against the Canterbury slope and graze the shoulder of the bat.

Cox continued to show excellent judgement of length, skipping down the pitch to drive anything flighted, or rocking back deep into his crease to cut or reverse sweep once the Sussex attack attempted to adjust their lengths.

He took a painful blow in the chest on 134 after ducking into a Stuart Meaker bumper but batted on after treatment from Kent physiotherapist Dan George.

Leaning, who joined from Yorkshire during the close season, notched his first ton in Kent colours and his fifth in first-class cricket from 162 balls after cutting his 16th four of the day through backward point off George Garton.

Earlier, Kent took 27 deliveries to claim the final Sussex wicket, with Ben Brown chopping a ball from Harry Podmore onto his off stump when only two runs shy of his 19th first-class century.

Match report supplied by PA Media.

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