None of the Sussex top order were able to produce the big innings which would have batted Kent out of the game at Tunbridge Wells yesterday.

If there is to be a positive outcome when this absorbing Championship tussle concludes today though, it is still likely to be in their favour.

Their hopes could depend on the condition of leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed. He collected his fourth five-for of the season despite suffering from a stomach bug which has been troubling him on and off for a couple of weeks now.

While Sussex were batting again with a lead of 36, Mushtaq headed back to the team hotel to recuperate. He returned to the ground later in the day, but Sussex had to call for a doctor when he took ill again and he will need the all-clear if he is to spearhead the county's bid for a third win of the season.

Kent's off-spinner James Tredwell posed little threat in a brief spell from the Railway End yesterday, but, as the their batsmen had discovered earlier in the day, Mushtaq is a different proposition on a pitch now offering turn and irregular bounce.

Murray Goodwin and Tony Cottey appeared to be putting their hosts out of contention during a second wicket stand of 111 in an afternoon session interrupted by a shower.

Richard Montgomerie had been pinned by Martin Saggers in the first over and Saggers and new ball partner Alamgir Sheriyar posed a threat which none of the other Kent bowlers could offer.

It was only after they were took a breather that Goodwin and Cottey were able to accelerate. Both reached 50 with their eighth boundary in the same over from Greg Blewett, but in the next over Cottey, who had faced 102 balls for his 52, played across a straight one from Andrew Symonds.

Goodwin looked in superb form again and Kent could not quite believe their luck when he ran himself out for the second time in the match.

Skipper Chris Adams was probably at fault for Goodwin's first innings demise, but the Zimbabwean only had himself to blame this time when he called a suicidal single after pushing the ball into the off side, got a third of the way down the pitch, slipped as he turned back and was beaten by Matthew Walker's throw from extra cover.

Goodwin raised both hands to the heavens as he headed back to the pavilion and Adams was soon joining him after Sheriyar defeated him with late inswing.

While Adams struggles for runs, Robin Martin-Jenkins can seldom have batted as consistently well in his eight years with the county.

Although the Kent bowlers were guilty of feeding his strengths on the leg side, Martin-Jenkins timed the ball superbly as he closed in on what would be his fourth successive half-century Together with Tim Ambrose, he helped add 53 in 13 overs for the fifth wicket, refusing one offer to go off for bad light presumably because he was seeing it like a football. Ambrose became the fourth leg before victim of the innings and the umpires made the decision for the batsmen when the light worsened a couple of overs later.

At one stage in the morning Mushtaq threw up on the outfield between overs, but by the end of an 11 over spell which brought him 3-47, it was the Kent batsmen who were feeling sick.

In successive overs he had Mark Ealham caught off a top-edged sweep and Alex Loudon taken at bat-pad via a deflection off Matt Prior's wrist before wrapping up the innings when Sheriyar failed to pick his wrong 'un.

A haul of 5-70 took his Championship aggregate to 37, making him the country's leading wicket-taker. The ever-willing James Kirtley is not far behind on 32 and once again he proved the ideal foil with two more victims yesterday in a return of 4-84.

Late inswing accounted for Tredwell after he had sliced him through the slips for successive boundaries earlier in the over while Martin Saggers lost his off pole to a ball which kept low in his next over.