Ben Brown and Chris Jordan produced a remarkable recovery for Sussex on the opening day against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road with a pair of fluent centuries to transform a dire position at 68 for 6 to close, incredibly, on 370 for 6.
Jordan joined Brown as wickets tumbled in the morning session with scrambling together a score of any note the primary task. But 302 unbeaten runs later and Sussex had transformed the match with Jordan on 158 and Brown 153 by the close.
They shared the second-highest seventh wicket stand in Sussex history and the highest for the wicket ever conceded by Northants.
Jordan said afterwards: “I just tried to keep a free mind and tried not to look too far ahead and get the partnership going. I’ve been doing quite a bit of work away with England and felt good and me and Browny complimented each other well.
“We’re two different types of players who hit in different areas so they were always having to change their lengths against us. I worked so hard all day for chance to play those on-drives at the end of the day and I’m very grateful to get a personal best.”
After winning the toss and choosing to bowl, Northants were almost through the visitors but Jordan edged his first delivery between the wicketkeeper and first slip and the extraordinary partnership was born.
Brown, the Sussex captain with three ducks in four Championship innings so far this summer, arrived at 35 for 4 and led the progress with defence far more secure than offered by the top order. He very cleverly nudged his singles and ran between the wickets with great intent to steal every run in seaming conditions.
He survived a top-edged pull that fell short of deep square but deserved a stroke of luck as he drove, cut and played a forearm-jab pull to build his score. He crashed his 15th boundary through cover point to raise a century in 161 balls - his 16th first-class hundred - and he closed the day having passed 150 for the third time in the County Championship.
Jordan’s century was the more eye-catching of the two. His timing was impeccable and he feasted upon any width outside the off stump - plenty was offered throughout the afternoon - to strike 16 fours in going to just a third first-class hundred in 131 balls.
Five overs from the close, three of the sweetest on-drives off Procter sent him past a career-best and raised a fourth batting bonus point. It was some return to action having played only a T20 for England since April 24th.
The partnership was a dashing affair and 151 were added in 35 overs between lunch and tea to turn the pressure back on the bowlers. A further 142 were more compiled in the evening session.
It was a truly outstanding turnaround after a morning session when Northants’ decision to send Sussex in looked a good one. Sanderson took the first three wickets as Phil Salt drove and lost his off stump, Tom Haines got a leading edge to point and Stiaan van Zyl drove to mid-off.
Nathan Buck then struck in his first over with a ball that nipped back to break in half the middle stump of Harry Finch shouldering arms, before Procter moved one away to glance the edge of Luke Wells.
Jamie Overton then returned for a blast just before lunch and removed David Wiese’s off stump with a spearing yorker - a similar delivery next ball almost removed Jordan and the day turned from there.