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Jordan Cox and Jack Leaning share a record 423-run partnership in Kent's Bob Willis Trophy win over Sussex while Darren Stevens claims five wickets


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There was a record-breaking partnership at Canterbury as Kent crushed Sussex in the Bob Willis Trophy.

Darren Stevens claimed a five-fer to help seal the victory by an innings and 25 runs but it was the record-breaking display from Jordan Cox and Jack Leaning that this match will be remembered for.

Jordan Cox and former Yorkshire batsman Jack Leaning with a record partnership for Kent (40211041)
Jordan Cox and former Yorkshire batsman Jack Leaning with a record partnership for Kent (40211041)

Played behind closed doors, except for those lucky enough to watch from the flats surrounding the ground, Kent were playing their first home game of their 150th year.

An unbroken 423-run second-wicket stand between Cox and Leaning is a new club record for any wicket, beating the 382 between Joe Denly and Sean Dickson against Northants at Beckenham in 2017.

The pair, batting through a heatwave, had put Kent in charge on day two, Cox describing it as a dream innings as he ended with a career-best 167. Kent had closed on 338-1 - a six run lead in response to Sussex’s 332 all out.

Cox and Leaning continued to pile on the runs on day three, both reaching double centuries, until Kent reached the 120-over limit on 530-1 - with a lead of 198 runs.

Competition rules say each county’s first innings of a match can last no longer than 120 overs. Sussex’s only wicket was that of that of Daniel Bell-Drummond for 43.

Nineteen-year-old Cox, making only his second first-class appearance at Canterbury, finished 238 not out off 345 balls and 478 minutes at the crease, while former Yorkshire batsman Leaning hit an unbeaten 220 off 308 balls.

Cox, playing only his second first class match at Canterbury, now holds the record for Kent’s highest individual innings against Sussex and the county’s highest maiden century-maker, beating the 57-year-old record of 211 made by David Nicholls against Derbyshire at Folkestone in 1963.

Kent were playing their second match in the south group of the south group of the Bob Willis Trophy, losing an exciting opener against Essex last week.

The Kent skipper Sam Billings returned to the side after being on England ODI duty and was sat watching Cox and Leaning do their stuff, as next man in, tweeting: “Anyone know the best remedies for pad rash? Asking for a friend…”

Despite favourable batting conditions, the visitors were bowled out for 173 in 46.1 overs, Harry Finch (66) batting on while wickets tumbled around him.

Darren Stevens picked up five wickets on an historic day for Kent
Darren Stevens picked up five wickets on an historic day for Kent

Stevens, 44, claimed his 27th five-wicket haul, Harry Podmore claimed 3-28 and former Somerset seamer Tim Groenewald bagged his first wicket for Kent on his first outing for the county as he had Henry Crocombe caught behind.

Former Kent skipper David Fulton tweeted: “This was the most emphatic victory I’ve ever seen from a Kent side. 530/1 doesn’t happen too often but dismantling Sussex’s batting was just as impressive.”

Stevens praised the efforts of Cox and Leaning, saying: “I’ve never seen anything like that at Canterbury. Jordan and Jack were just exceptional.

“They looked in no trouble. Jordan looked like he’d been playing 20 years. He’s an exceptional talent and the way he just kept batting and batting he looked like he’d already got 15 hundreds under his belt.

“Jack’s the new boy in the team and came down from Yorkshire with a lot of hype surrounding him. He’s fitted in brilliantly and is already one of the lads. He beat himself up a bit last week after missing out against Essex. But given an opportunity here he never looked back.”

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