Published: 19:00, 15 May 2021
| Updated: 20:13, 15 May 2021
Kent will start the final day of their County Championship clash at Hove with a lead of 109 after play was limited to 24 overs on day three.
The visitors will hope to avoid the rain and then set a challenging total for Sussex on day four as they aim to record their first win of the summer.
Play did not get under way until 5pm on Saturday with Kent resuming on 138-2 and a slender lead of 27.
The batsmen did their best to make up for lost time with a positive start after being frustrated by persistent rain and a very wet outfield at the southern end of the ground.
Jack Leaning showed Kent’s positive intent from the first ball of the day, flicking Ollie Robinson through square leg for four. Then the batsman pulled George Garton behind square for four before upper-cutting Robinson to third man for another boundary.
Sussex made their first breakthrough with the score on 189 when Zak Crawley, attempting to reverse sweep, was caught at forward short-leg by Aaron Thomason for 85. He and Leaning had put on 130 for the third wicket.
To add to Sussex’s frustration’s, Kent’s Ollie Robinson was dropped at first slip in the penultimate over of the day as Kent ended the day on 220-3.
The biggest talking point from the play that was possible, however, was the absence from the attack of England bowler Jofra Archer.
The first over, at 5pm, was bowled by Ollie Robinson from the Cromwell Road end. At the end of the over Sussex captain Ben Brown appeared to want Archer to open the attack from the sea end.
The pair talked and at the end of the conversation Brown was seen to gesticulate in the direction of Archer before calling up Garton to bowl the second over. Archer, meanwhile, looked on from mid-on.
Archer bowled only five overs in Kent's second innings on Friday and bowled 13 overs in three spells in the first innings as he returned to first-class action following injury which forced him to miss the now-postponed IPL.
Crawley said: "It was much nicer to bat today in the sun than in the overcast conditions of the past couple of days.
"Hopefully it will be overcast again tomorrow when we come to bowl, if we can get another 100 or so lead in the morning. But if it’s sunny again we’re going to need a few more than that.
“Sussex were still ahead of the game at the start of play, so we had to make sure we didn’t lose wickets.
"I was disappointed to make another mistake between 50 and 100. It’s something I will try to rectify but I feel in really good nick, and if you can score 85 you can certainly score 100.
"I’m really pleased for Jack Leaning. He’s a really talented player, he's a great bloke and he played some lovely strokes. He’s had a bit of a tough time but we all expected him to bounce back."
On the absence of England team-mate Archer from the Sussex bowling attack, Crawley added: “I thought he was going to start out today but he’s obviously having a bit of trouble with something.
"I’m not sure what it was but he’s obviously not 100 per cent at the moment so hopefully he can get back to be fully fit for England.”