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Jordan Cox scores 207 on his first return to Kent with new club Essex on day two of County Championship game at Canterbury

Jordan Cox scored a double hundred on his return to Kent as his new side Essex dominated day two of their Vitality County Championship clash at Canterbury.

In-form Cox, who has made a sparkling start to life with his new county, scored 207 from 255 balls as Essex declared on a dominant 591-7.

Jordan Cox - scored a double hundred for Essex against Kent. Picture: Keith Gillard
Jordan Cox - scored a double hundred for Essex against Kent. Picture: Keith Gillard

Kent were then reduced to 118-4 in reply, a familiar tale of woe for the hosts who still trail by 473 runs.

Kent captain Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “Obviously the situation isn’t ideal and we’ve been here before a little bit. We’ve got 16 wickets to keep intact and try and get out of this game with a draw. It’s probably a bit similar to some other games, I know the guys can do it and we’ve got some good players in the dressing room to come.

“We’ve got try and think positively and do what’s required. It’s quite slow and low, a good wicket to bat on. I think we should go well tomorrow and the last day, and hopefully make something out of this game.

“It’s been tricky, we haven’t had the rub of the green with injuries and Wes (Agar) going down now means there’s probably five or six bowlers down with injuries but that’s the situation we’re in and we’ve got to make the best of that.”

With Essex resuming on 287-4 and Wes Agar unable to bowl after injuring his shoulder on Friday, the visitors eased their way through the first hour without any damage.

Cox had averaged just 24.06 in 2023, his final season for Kent, but he was averaging 66.66 coming into this game and having already scored a century in the fixture at Chelmsford there was an air of inevitability about his march to three figures this time.

Kent enjoyed brief hope when they took two wickets in nine balls. The breakthrough came when Michael Pepper (82) slashed at Arafat Bhuiyan (2-114) and was caught by sub fielder Jaydn Denly at slip - 391-5.

Simon Harmer then holed out to Matt Parkinson (2-151) for six to leave Essex 398-6, caught at the second attempt by a juggling Joe Denly on the deep cover boundary. But Shane Snater joined Cox for the biggest partnership of the innings, taking Essex to 449-6 at lunch on their way

As Cox neared 200 Kent put every fielder on the boundary, but he still found the backward square leg boundary to get to 199. The field duly came in and he drove Joey Evison for a single, also bringing up Essex’s biggest seventh-wicket partnership against Kent, beating the 152 set by Nadheem Shahid and Derek Pringle in 1992.

When Cox was finally bowled by Marcus O’Riordan (1-36), Essex immediately declared leaving Snater unbeaten on a career-best 83.

Cox said: “I got my first double-century here and now I’ve got my second one which is quite nice. To get the team in a good position with 590 something and get four wickets is a great effort from the boys.

“Hopefully the rain comes tomorrow and makes it a bit juicy under the old covers and hopefully we roll them over quickly and do it again. It’s nice to score runs, it always is, but you need to make sure that nothing’s taken for granted and you push on.

“I was a bit nervous for this game. I haven’t been nervous this season really, I just said to myself ‘enjoy it’ but coming back here, coming through the gates felt weird, so when I walked out there for my first 15 balls I was nervous.”

Kent’s reply was less than four overs old when the positive Zak Crawley - with three boundaries to his name - edged Sam Cook to Dean Elgar at first slip to depart for 16 from 12 balls.

Daniel Bell-Drummond was dropped without scoring by Aaron Beard, but the fielder atoned when he strangled Bell-Drummond for 16 in the penultimate over before tea, leaving the hosts on 48-2 at the end of the session.

Cook limped off injured after pulling up during a run-up and O’Riordan seemed to be coping well until he was lbw to Matt Critchley for 30, leaving Kent 96-3.

That soon became 105-4 as Ben Compton was perhaps unlucky to be lbw for 41, trying to sweep Critchley. Nightwatchman Parkinson negotiated five overs and will resume in the morning alongside Joe Denly.

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