Sussex and Kent exchanged blows between the showers in Canterbury where the hosts reached 125-4 to secure an edge after day two of this engaging Specsavers County Championship clash.

Kent battled away under floodlights to muster a 159-run lead on a pitch that continues to assist the seam bowlers from both attacks.

When bad light stopped play, Kent's fifth-wicket partners Zak Crawley (23 not out) and Adam Rouse (10 not out) had showed sturdy resistance in the face of a fiery bowling stint of 2-26 from Ishant Sharma.

Batting for a second time soon after 2pm on the second day, Kent lost Daniel Bell-Drummond nine balls in when the out-of-sorts opener fenced at a lifting leg-cutter from Ishant, the India paceman, to be caught behind.

Sharma also accounted for Sean Dickson with another near-unplayable delivery, this time a shooting off-cutter that grubbed back into the right-hander and pegged back off stump as Dickson shouldered arms.

Heino Kuhn and his acting captain Joe Denly added 55 either side of tea but their third-wicket stand was broken after 11.5 overs when Ollie Robinson rushed one through bat and pad to win an appeal for a catch at the wicket and send Denly on his way.

Three balls after taking a blow on the right hand from South African compatriot David Wiese, Kuhn, when just three runs short of his second 50 of the match, nicked Wiese's away-swinger to second slip.

Earlier, Kent had secured a potentially precious 34-run first-innings lead after dismissing Sussex for 181 inside 44 overs.

Kiwi paceman Matt Henry was again the pick of the home attack, claiming 4-69 overall, as the hosts claimed one wicket during a rain-ruined first session of 11.4 overs.

Henry had Luke Wright caught at second slip following a hesitant defensive prod 12 minutes into the second day. Kent returned following an early lunch to polish the job off - taking the last five Sussex wickets for 63 runs - despite losing seamer Grant Stewart from their attack with a recurrence of his hamstring injury.

Ben Brown and Michael Burgess had eased the Sussex total into three figures in adding 40 for the sixth wicket but the partnership ended during a highly unusual double-wicket maiden soon after lunch.

Brown, on 30 and with his side still 97 in arrears, aimed to pull a good-length delivery from Italian-born all-rounder Stewart, only to chop the ball onto his stumps.

Stewart limped off three balls later, leaving Ivan Thomas to bowl one delivery to complete the over. Robinson, the next man in, made a late decision to shoulder arms to a Thomas away-swinger but succeeded in toe-ending a catch to keeper Rouse.

The Sussex tail, led by Burgess and Wiese, continued to counter-attack adding 40 in six overs.

Henry gave way after bowling 10 overs either side of lunch and his replacement, Calum Haggett struck with his first delivery of the match when having Wiese (28) caught in the gully off a sliced drive.

Burgess posted only the second half-century of the match from 67 balls and with eight fours but lost Danny Briggs soon after when the right-hander steered another from Haggett straight to gully.

Burgess, on 54, finally perished when taking one risk too many. Smearing across the line against Harry Podmore, he holed out to cow corner to gift Podmore a second scalp of the innings and Kent their modest lead.