Chris Jordan, Ben Brown pass 150 unbeaten to rescue Sussex

Chris Jordan of Sussex batting Getty Images

Sussex 370 for 6 (Jordan 158*, Brown 153*) v Northamptonshire

If Chris Jordan was feeling frustrated at watching his slim chance of making the cut for England's World Cup squad disappear before his eyes over the past two weeks, then there are not many better ways in which he could have got it out of his system.

His career-best unbeaten 158, the third century of his career, was an essay in controlled aggression, occasionally risky but never irresponsibly so, and with no leaping around punching the air as he ran the single that took him to his century or after the magnificent straight drive that took him past 150 in the midst of a wonderful record-breaking partnership with Ben Brown, who finished 10 short of his career-best on 153 not out.

Yet you sensed he must have been feeling a particular kind of satisfaction at that moment, one borne of being selected for the one-day series against Pakistan that ended on Sunday - a chance, he must have thought, to make a late claim for a World Cup place - only to play no part, beyond being a substitute fielder.

His response here, then, was hugely impressive, not least to his teammates, who watched with growing appreciation as he and his captain repaired the damage of a dreadful morning that had seen them lurch from 20 without loss to 68 for 6.

"It can be a little bit frustrating to be with England like that and not get a game," Jordan said afterwards.

"But I tend to take the positives from a situation and the fact of the matter is that I had not been called up to that 50-over squad for three years so it means I am getting close again. Unfortunately I was not able to get a go but the boys are in great shape for the World Cup and it is good to be playing cricket again with Sussex."

Going out to bat at 68 for 6, Jordan said, was "not ideal". Brown will certainly have concurred. During that torrid passage, he must have wondered what he was thinking when he looked at a green-tinged pitch before play and decided he wanted to bat. More so when the toss went against him and his opposite number said he was happy for him to do so.

Alex Wakely was clearly spot-on about the conditions favouring his bowlers, the ball moving in the air and some nipping away off the pitch too. Moreover, several Sussex batsmen played some pretty woeful shots, as if disoriented to be batting.

Ben Sanderson inflicted the first blows, taking three for none in 10 deliveries as Phil Salt lost his off stump, Tom Haines skewed one to point off a leading edge and Stiann Van Zyl drove loosely to mid-off.

Luke Wells got a good one from Luke Procter that zipped away and took the edge, Adam Rossington taking a tumbling catch in front of slip, but Harry Finch did not offer a shot to the ball from Nathan Buck that literally broke his middle stump and David Wiese, who had been in excellent form in 50-over cricket, was bowled by a fullish delivery from Jamie Overton, the Somerset bowler who is here on loan, without scoring.

Jordan, in fact, was a little fortunate not to go the same way, the ball flying between 'keeper and first slip as he tried to jam the bat down on another Overton delivery that was well pitched up.

From a Sussex viewpoint, it was the last scare before lunch. Nonetheless, 77 for 6 was a test for their digestion. No one could have imagined 370 for 6 at the close, yet from thereon in, Jordan and Brown reigned supreme.

That is not to say that nothing troubled them. There was still something in the pitch, clearly, and neither batsman was immune from playing and missing. Yet Jordan, in particular, looked confident, punching boundaries both sides of the wicket and driving forcefully if Northamptonshire's bowlers strayed in length or line, and the presence at the other end of a batsman with a very different style was certainly a factor in making that happen quite regularly.

"We have batted together a few times and we tried to rotate the strike," Jordan said. "We hit the ball in different areas and that makes it difficult for bowlers to settle on one length or one line."

Brown hit 20 boundaries, Jordan 24, the most thrilling of which came towards the close as he drove Procter straight down the ground three times in the same over, the third of them taking him past 150.

"We did not get that many balls to hit down the ground so it felt good at the time and I'm grateful to get a personal best," he added.

The partnership is the highest conceded by any Northamptonshire side for the fifth wicket and the second-highest scored by a Sussex partnership, the highest being 344 by K S Ranjitsinhji and Billy Newham against Essex at Leyton in 1902, which was the highest by any side in the County Championship until Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan put on 366 for Yorkshire against Durham at Chester-le-Street in 2015.

That mark could yet be under threat.

Northants 4th innings Partnerships

1st13R VasconcelosBJ Curran
2nd99JJ CobbBJ Curran
3rd21JJ CobbT Bavuma
4th28T BavumaRI Keogh
5th1T BavumaAM Rossington
6th56LA ProcterAM Rossington
7th70AM RossingtonBA Hutton