Bob Willis Trophy 2020
New rule halts record-breaking partnership
Jordan Cox and Jack Leaning both score double centuries in club record stand that steers Kent to a big win over Sussex
11 August 2020, 11:18 AM AEST
A quadruple-century partnership that was only ended by a new regulation for this year's UK county season has guided Kent to a thumping win over Sussex in Canterbury.
SCORECARD: Kent v Sussex in Canterbury
Kent duo Jordan Cox (238 not out) and Jack Leaning (220 not out) shared an unbroken 423-run stand for the second wicket as Kent racked up 1-530 in reply to Sussex's total of 332.
It's the county's highest partnership ever and the third-highest unbroken second-wicket stand in the history of first-class cricket.
And it could have been more if not for a new rule that has been introduced for this season that caps each team's first innings at 120 overs.
With the county season delayed by four months due to COVID-19, the regular County Championship has been replaced by a shortened red-ball competition, the Bob Willis Trophy.
Because players had barely any pre-season training before the competition began, several restrictions have been implemented to reduce the risk of injury, particularly for fast bowlers.
The number of overs per day has been reduced to 90 from 96, while teams can only bat for a maximum of 120 overs in their first innings.
Despite the restrictions, matches are still able to carry first-class status as they feature 11 players per side and are played over three or more days.
So on Monday, when Cox hit the final ball of the 120th over for two, he and Leaning walked off the ground unbeaten, with the innings closed.
Cox and Leaning had raced along at close to 4.5 runs an over in their 95-over partnership, scoring 56 fours and three sixes between them.
Both players registered their maiden first-class centuries for Kent; Cox, a 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman was playing just his fifth first-class game, while Leaning had moved from Yorkshire in the off-season.
"It's a dream come true and I am really happy," Cox said of reaching three figures for the first time.
"I was a bit nervous, everyone is a bit nervous when they walk out, but I said to myself, 'it's a good wicket, play good shots and you will get the rewards'.
"I was absolutely chuffed to get my first 100. I had dreamed of it but I never thought it would come this early."
To cap off a memorable couple of days for Kent, they ripped through Sussex with the ball after their batting marathon to secure victory by an innings and 25 runs.
Needing almost 200 to make Kent bat again, the visitors slumped to 4-59 before they were eventually bowled out for 173, with veteran Darren Stevens taking 5-50.
It's the 43rd instance of a team winning a first-class match having lost no more than one wicket.