HOVE, England, CMC — Young Barbadian seamer Jofra Archer made a sensational start to the new English County Championship season when he grabbed a career-best seven-wicket haul to help Sussex limit Kent on the opening day here Friday.
The 22-year-old bowled with pace and movement to to claim seven for 67 – his first five-wicket haul in first class cricket – as Kent were dismissed for 304 in their first innings.
Opener Sean Dickson and Darren Stevens both struck 68 while South African Wayne Parnell chipped in with an unbeaten 51.
At the close, Sussex were 11 for one.
Barbadian fast bowler Jofra Archer.
“I set myself a kind of big target in the pre-season so hopefully I can achieve my goals,” Archer said following the day’s play, referring to his target of 70 wickets this season.
He added: “It was a good pitch. [There was] carry from a good length – a couple of them popped as well.”
Archer, with just seven first class matches to his name, took centre stage as he helped reduce Kent from 141 for three to 152 for six, before also scything through the tail.
His first wicket was the ultimate fast bowler’s dream. After taking a few away from Daniel Bell-Drummond (13), he brought one back to remove middle stump as the right-hander shouldered arms.
Even then, Kent recovered well through a third wicket stand of 54 between Dickson and captain Sam Northeast (23) until Archer intervened again.
Cruising on 141 for three, Kent were left in strife after Archer snatched three wickets in the space of 12 deliveries. He sent back Will Gidman for 11 and then in his next over, snapped up Dickson and wicketkeeper Adam Rouse (0) in successive deliveries.
Kent rallied through a 123-run, seventh wicket partnership between Stevens and Parnell but Archer returned to trigger the final slide that saw that last four wickets fall for 29 runs.
Last season, Archer proved a sensation for Sussex by claiming 23 wickets in six championship games and 35 in all competitions, leading to an extended contract with the club.
Only last week, he finished with a seven-wicket match haul against Cardiff MCCU in a drawn three-day game.