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REPORT: Jordan ton helps Sussex dominate Essex


Chris Jordan's 131 was his maiden first-class century

Chris Jordan continued to dominate proceedings at Castle Park as Sussex closed in on a second Specsavers County Championship win of the season to haul themselves into the promotion frame.

The England all-rounder followed up his four wickets at the start of the second day with a maiden first-class century to give Sussex a first-innings advantage of 90 runs.

It was a monumental effort to rescue Sussex from the depths of 169 for 6, 189 runs behind, when Jordan strode to the wicket just after tea on the previous evening.

And Jordan had barely taken off his pads after his 131 than he had removed Essex opener Nick Browne, pouched at waist-height by Ed Joyce at square leg. By the close he had two for 40 as Essex fifth-wicket pair Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster battled to save the match.

To exacerbate Essex’s misery, they were deposed at the top of Division Two by Kent’s victory earlier in the day, and were staring at a third Championship defeat in four games.

Jordan’s Barbadian sidekick Jofra Archer, who also hit a top first-class score of 73, was back in the groove after three wickets in the first innings by having Jaik Mickleburgh lbw to one that kept low. He also bowled one particularly aggressive over late on to ten Doeschate.

Essex were three down before they had gone back into the black as Dan Lawrence was slow on a ball of full-length from Jordan and went lbw for 29. Even when the lead was retaken, it was with four leg-byes that looped over the slips.

Tom Westley, who suffered a first-ball duck first time round, was not entirely convincing in compiling 44 off 104 balls before he was caught behind by Ben Brown off David Wiese. He managed just five runs in 14 overs after tea.

It had not been much better when Essex were in the field earlier. Their only success of the morning session came when David Masters parted Jordan and Archer after the West Indian-born pair had put on 140 for the seventh wicket in 33 overs.

Archer drove Jamie Porter firmly though the covers and Masters past gulley in a brief reminder of the big-hitting of the previous evening, before he departed after 115 balls, having hit 10 fours and a six. He had added 13 to his overnight 60 when he got the faintest snick to the wicketkeeper. The batsman remained unconvinced that he had hit it, and it was not until the umpire’s finger confirmed the end of his highest first-class innings that he trudged off.

Jordan played second fiddle to both Archer and Danny Briggs for much of the morning, though his cover-drive for four off Tom Moore took Sussex into the lead in the 102nd over. But he picked up the tempo after reaching his century five balls after the interval as Sussex looked to push on.

Jordan had three-figures on the board with the streakiest shot of his innings, a thick inside-edge off Moore that raced away for four. He was back to his best with a six over deep extra cover off Napier and a straight six that sailed far beyond the sightscreen at the Pavilion End off Moore.

Jordan was finally 10th man out, having scored 131 off 190 balls (11 fours, three sixes) when he went for another big hit off Napier and was caught at midwicket by Moore.

Danny Briggs helped put on 92 in 26 overs for the eighth wicket, and was five away from his highest first-class score of 54, when he departed lbw to Napier straight after Jordan reached his century. Harry Finch, who broke his thumb fielding on the opening day, managed just five before he chased a wide one from Napier to give Foster a fourth catch.

Napier had taken three wickets in 55 post-lunch minutes to claim his third five-wicket haul of the season, albeit at a personal cost of 114. He now has 43 Championship wickets this summer.

Chris Jordan went to lunch on 99 and said: “I wasn’t too worried, I just tried to stay level-headed. If it was meant to be it would be. It is always nice to bring up a century in style, but it was meant to be like it was. It was a streaky shot the way I got it, but I feel that I had done the hard work to get to that stage so maybe I deserved a little bit of luck.

“Getting my first century is a nice feeling and one I want to experience again soon.

“I am happy with the tempo that I batted at the entire innings. When I came in we were in a little bit of trouble, but I took one ball at a time. I tried to work on the partnerships I had with whoever was out there with me and they went really well, particularly with Jof and Briggsy. They were key partnerships.

"It is a good cricketing pitch and we want to pick up in the morning where we’ve left off. If we had been given this position going into the last day we would have taken it.

“But as we have seen in this game, if someone decides to get their head down and they don’t want to give their wicket away it can be tough to get them out. We will try and rest up tonight and come back fresh tomorrow. If we can make some inroads into their batting in the first half-hour or so in the morning it will make the rest of the day easier for us.”

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