Kent build lead as Henry takes 31st wicket

Kent build lead as Henry takes 31st wicket

Kent looked to build on a slender first-innings advantage as rain and bad light delayed a fast-moving Specsavers County Championship match at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

New Zealander Matt Henry increased his lead as county cricket’s top wicket-taker by claiming his 31st victim of the summer as the hosts dismissed second-placed Sussex for 181, 34 adrift of Kent’s total.

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In reply, Heino Kuhn’s 47 was the top score as Kent closed on 125 for four in the second innings, a lead of 159.

Kent made their first breakthrough of the day after 12 minutes and, once again, it was the in-form Matt Henry who landed the blow in breaking a fifth-wicket stand between Ben Brown and Luke Wright that added 57 in 14.1 overs for Sussex.

Bowling a slippery, full length to attract the drive against a moving ball, Henry drew one uppish slash from Wright that went to the ropes at extra cover. But Wright (35) prodded hesitantly at Henry’s next delivery only to steer a comfortable catch to Heino Kuhn at second slip.

In fading light and with the floodlights on, Kiwi paceman Matt Henry was again the pick of the home attack, claiming four for 69, as the hosts claimed one wicket during a rain-shortened first session of 11.4 overs.

Henry had Luke Wright caught at second slip following a hesitant defensive prod, but Kent returned after an early lunch to polish the job off – taking the last five Sussex wickets for 63 runs – despite losing seamer Grant Stewart from their attack with a recurrence of his hamstring injury.

Things might have been worse for Sussex but for a belligerent half-century by Michael Burgess who became their last man out for 54 including eight fours.

Henry took his season’s championship tally to 31 wickets, while Harry Podmore and Calum Haggett bagged two apiece as Sussex succumbed in 43.5 overs.

Kent’s second innings started poorly, however, as India paceman Ishant Sharma produced a fearsome lifting leg-cutter that squared up Daniel Bell-Drummond and feathered the outside edge to give keeper Ben Brown a sharp, overhead chance that made it four for one.

Then, with 31 on the board, Sharma bowled Sean Dickson (8) with a shooting off-cutter that jagged in off the pitch to clip off stump as the right-hander shouldered arms.

Joe Denly shared a 55-run stand with Heino Kuhn before being adjudged caught behind as fellow Kent Cricket Academy graduate Ollie Robinson managed to seam the ball between bat and pad.

Kuhn was struck by a sharp Wiese bouncer before his countryman enticed him into driving at a fuller, wider delivery which was caught sharply at second slip by Harry Finch.

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