Kent’s 19 year-old wicketkeeper, Jordan Cox, shared the county’s highest-ever stand of 423 with Jack Leaning against Sussex, beating the previous record of 382 by Sean Dickson and Joe Denly which had stood for only three years.
Resuming at 338-1 overnight, Cox reached his 238 off 345 balls with 27 fours and three sixes, while Leaning made 220 off 308 balls with 29 fours before Kent’s innings had to be declared after 120 overs in accordance with the rules for the Bob Willis Trophy. The pair put together their record-breaking partnership in only 95 overs.
Kent have always had a plentiful crop of wicketkeeper-batsmen - more so than any other county or even country - but at the start of this season they had four to accommodate, one of them the club-captain Sam Billings, along with Adam Rouse and Ollie Robinson, while Cox was the most junior as England’s Under-19 wicketkeeper.
But the rule nowadays is that young batsmen are all the better for keeping wicket as their powers of concentration are enhanced and they have to watch every ball closely. On this basis, Cox, having played four first-class matches, and with a previous highest score of 29, was promoted to open in the absence of Denly (injured) and Zak Crawley in the England Test bubble.
Slim and agile in addition to having the hand-eye coordination of the excellent wicketkeeper, Cox played quality strokes along the ground before going to his 100 by hitting an offbreak for one of his three sixes. Although there was no crowd at Canterbury, Cox was watched by the England national selector Ed Smith.
Leaning, 26, had scored only four first-class centuries since making his debut for Yorkshire in 2013, with a highest score of 123. A classical defence was one main reason why Kent signed him during the winter with a view to batting at number four, behind Crawley and Denly.
On what had been a belter of a pitch when Cox and Leaning batted, Sussex were skittled a second time round by the 44 year-old medium-pacer Darren Stevens to lose by an innings and 25 runs.
Rouse, meanwhile, perhaps seeing the writing on the scoreboard, announced his retirement last week.