|LV= County Championship Group Three, 1st Central County Ground, Hove (day one):|
|Kent 145: Leaning 63; Robinson 3-29, Garton 3-65, Carson 2-7, Archer 2-29|
|Sussex 51-2: Thomason 21; Gilchrist 1-4|
|Sussex (3 pts) trail Kent (0 pts) by 94 runs|
England fast bowler Jofra Archer made a wicket-taking return to competitive action for Sussex as they dominated the opening day against Kent.
Archer (2-29) took the first two Kent wickets before fellow pacemen Ollie Robinson (3-29) and George Garton (3-65) helped bowl them out for just 145.
England team-mate Zak Crawley and Kent opener Daniel Bell-Drummond were Archer’s two early scalps.
Sussex closed on 51-2 in reply on a rain and bad light-affected first day.
Archer was making his first County Championship appearance for Sussex since 2018 and was also playing in his first competitive match in any format since the last T20 international of England’s series against India in March.
The 26-year-old had stepped-up his return to training in a Sussex second XI fixture against Surrey at Hove last week.
His return comes less than two months after surgery on his right hand to remove a piece of broken glass from a cut sustained while cleaning a fish tank at his home as well as an injection to manage a long-standing elbow injury.
Archer, who has played 13 Tests, will hope to put himself in contention for England’s series against New Zealand, starting on 2 June at Lord’s.
But alongside his encouraging opening spell with the new ball that reduced Kent to 11-2 as Bell-Drummond was caught at second slip and Crawley feathered a rising delivery to wicketkeeper Ben Brown, it was the seam pairing of Robinson and Garton who also caught the eye.
Right-armer Robinson, who came close to a Test debut against West Indies last summer, and left-armer Garton both took three wickets after Kent had recovered to 70-2.
After Jack Leaning (63) and Jordan Cox (24) saw their second-wicket partnership of 59 ended when Robinson knocked the latter’s off stump out the ground, Kent lost their last eight wickets for just 75 runs.
The visitors did manage to pick up two wickets in Sussex’s reply before bad light stopped play with 14.3 overs still to bowl.
Tom Haines (14) was caught behind off Darren Stevens while Aaron Thomason (21) miscued a drive to point off Nathan Gilchrist shortly before the close.
Sussex and England fast bowler Jofra Archer told BBC Radio Sussex:
“Playing here with people you’ve probably played with for all of my time at Sussex was really great. It was hard not to have some fun out there.
“I don’t even remember my last Championship game before this one, it was so long ago and in a different context too. Back then I was pushing to get in the (England) team and now, it’s all about trying to keep my place.
“I thought I looked alright out there and I was backing up from the 2nd XI match last week, it’s good to get some confidence and overs in and it felt fine.
“It was just a precaution and management bowling short spells just in case we had a long day in the field, but it worked out OK.
“You don’t pick up injures on purpose and sometimes you don’t know how long they will linger or stay away when you come back, so I think you’ve just got to take everything in your stride, not get too frustrated in your recovery and try and have fun whenever you get the chance.
On his chances of being fit for England’s series against New Zealand:
“If I’m fit, I guess I’ll be selected and if I’m not, then I’ll continue working hard to get back. There’s nothing else you can do.
“We’ve still got a second innings to get through and hopefully a couple more games before the Test series so I’m feeling confident.”
On team-mate Ollie Robinson’s England prospects:
“We all know what Ollie can do. He’s a talented bowler and he almost made his debut last summer.
“Week-in, week-out he proves that and hopefully he gets his chance this summer.”