A century partnership between Murray Goodwin and Carl Hopkinson during the afternoon session guaranteed that this rain-affected match would fizzle out into a draw.
The pair had come together just before lunch when Sussex had suffered an alarming slump, losing three wickets for just 12 runs in five overs and there was an outside chance that they would not get enough on the board to avoid the follow-on.
But after the interval Goodwin and Hopkinson settled into an unshakeable rhythm which saw them add 105 runs for the sixth wicket. It took Sussex’s pre-prandial demon Robbie Joseph, who had picked up a couple of crucial wickets in that mini-collapse, to stop the flow of runs and end the partnership.
Goodwin had just reached his fifty when two balls later Joseph ripped out his leg stump, with the assistance of the toe end of his bat. At least by then the match was safe.
Hopkinson had also passed fifty, for only the second time this season, and was looking well set, but he and Luke Wright had added 35 for the seventh wicket when Kent took the second new ball and Rory McLaren’s third delivery with it knocked Hopkinson’s off stump out of the ground.
Earlier Antigua-born Joseph had looked unplayable at times as he rocked Sussex by dismissing Michael Yardy, when the left-hander was nearing his half century, and followed that up by accounting for captain Chris Adams, and when off-spinner James Tredwell bowled Matt Prior, Kent found themselves flirting with the remote prospect of victory.