Delray Rawlins gets a long bowl as Kent bat out soggy draw
Rain was the big winner as Sussex and Kent played to a tame draw in their LV= Insurance County Championship match at the 1st Central County Ground yesterday.
Sussex had the upper hand after the first two days after dismissing Kent for 145 and then posting 256 to take a 111-run lead. However, they could not press home the advantage in rain-hit third and fourth days as Kent fought back.
Jack Leaning led them in the second innings, scoring his sixth first-class hundred, 127 not out, as Kent went from 220 for three overnight to 387 for four when the teams agreed to end play at 4.50pm.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Ollie Robinson, who shared in a fourth-wicket stand of 172 with Leaning, scored 85. Kent picked up 11 points for the draw and Sussex 13.
With pace bowler Jofra Archer restricted to just five overs in the second innings after his elbow injury flared up, Delray Rawlins was given a long spell with the ball, his 28 overs being the most by a Sussex bowler in the second innings.
Rawlins was wicketless, giving up 86 runs with four maidens, while Ollie Robinson bowled 24 overs (one for 53) and George Garton 21 overs (none for 88).
Play began at 1.10pm, after heavy early-morning rain, with Archer replaced in the field by substitute Nick Oxley.
Leaning, who also top-scored with 63 in Kent’s first innings, began the day on 61 while Robinson restarted on 11. Robinson was in an aggressive mood as he moved towards his half-century.
Robinson lofted spinner Jack Carson over his head for four, then swept slow left-arm Rawlins for another boundary.
Sussex took the second new ball when Kent were on 258 for three. But Leaning and Robinson looked solid, with Robinson reaching his fifty off 85 balls and Leaning, more reserved, keeping the score ticking over as the stand reached three figures.
Leaning faced 263 balls and hit eight fours, while Robinson, who later pulled a short Rawlins ball for six, also hit six fours from 135 balls before being adjudged leg-before to Tom Clark’s medium pace despite what looked to be an inside edge. It was Clark’s maiden first-class wicket.
Reflecting on the weather-ruined match, Sussex captain Ben Brown told the official Sussex website: “I did wonder if they might try to come out and set us a fourth-innings target today, but all the air had been sucked out of the game, really, by the bad weather delays we have had in the past two days.
“Overall, after six games, I’m fairly happy with how we’ve gone and very excited by the progress of the young players in our team. We have a week off now, and that’s coming at the right time, as we all need that break.”
The week off gives Archer some time for his injury to heal. Sussex are next in action starting on May 27 when they are at home to Northamptonshire.
“He’s a champion cricketer, so talented and so gifted, but at the moment he cannot do what he wants to do, he cannot do his skill,” his captain said.
“I really feel for him. He’s in a difficult situation, with that skill of bowling really fast being taken away from him. This week has been very challenging for him. He was hopeful about how it would go, but he’s felt pretty sore in this game.”
Brown added: “Jofra did the right thing playing in the Second XI game the previous week, and we all want him to be fully fit and firing for England and for the Ashes.
“We tried to do what was right for Jofra’s career, and he needed to play in this match to prove his fitness, but it just hasn’t worked out this week.”
Archer has been ruled out of England’s Test series against New Zealand next month.
Matt Walker, the Kent head coach, said: “Today was a frustrating day with the weather. It was always going to be difficult for us to force anything.
“If we had started on time we might have been able to set them something, but we just ran out of overs really. Setting them only a short run chase would have made it a hard game for us to win. It would have been a long shot.”
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