Daniel Bell-Drummond scored his second hundred of the match as Kent batted out the final day to earn a creditable draw with LV= Insurance County Championship Division 1 leaders Surrey on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old added 107 not out to his first innings score of 102, the first time he has scored two centuries in a first-class match.
Morning rain meant a delayed start but Kent still had plenty of work to do to save the draw, progressing from 121-0 to 361-4 by the time hands were shaken at 5.48pm.
Bell-Drummond batted for a total of almost nine hours in the game, resisting in Kent’s second innings for 195 balls and 284 minutes after coming in when opener Ben Compton was leg-before to Sam Curran in the final day’s second over.
Play should have started at 11.50am, following early morning rain, but just as the players reached the middle another shower meant a further five-minute delay. Amusingly, the Surrey team remained on the field as the umpires ordered the pitch to be covered and liaised with Oval groundstaff, while Kent’s openers Compton and Joe Denly marched off back into their dressing room.
With a minimum of 82 overs scheduled from 11.55am, Denly - who resumed on 63 - was soon flashing Dan Worrall’s pacy outswing away through the gully area for four but Compton, on 47 overnight, had only added a single to his score when Curran skidded one into the left-hander’s pads through an attempted work to leg.
Denly, on 69, was then beaten by a full, in-slanting ball from Worrall that flicked the inside of his front pad before hammering into his back pad.
At 128-2, Kent were under severe pressure. Bell-Drummond, however, was joined by Jack Leaning in a stand of 107 either side of lunch that did much to guide Kent to safety.
The pair, who had also added 161 together in Kent’s first innings, were largely untroubled although Bell-Drummond, on 54, did edge Curran just short of second slip - the ball flying away for one of the batsman’s 14 fours.
Surrey tried seven bowlers in all, but although Leaning was bowled off stump for 43 by a perfect inswinger by Curran, soon after the second new ball was taken at 219-2, they could not dislodge Bell-Drummond.
Jordan Cox, on 27, fell for a trap set by Gus Atkinson when he pulled high to deep square leg but Surrey’s last chance of forcing a victory probably came on 301 for four - with Kent’s overall deficit still 41 and with more than 22 overs remaining - when Ollie Robinson, on 12, fended a short ball from Conor McKerr just short of Ben Geddes diving forward at a deepish short leg.
Geddes was then moved a couple of yards forward but no other opportunity came his way and, fittingly, the game ended soon after Bell-Drummond had completed his hundred, with Robinson finishing unbeaten on 39.
The sides meet again on Friday when it's another quick turnaround and a change of format in Kent's penultimate T20 Blast game of the summer.
Kent head coach Matt Walker said: “I think it was an outstanding effort from us to draw this match.
"Even after day one we knew we were not in a position to win it, and we were staring down the barrel from about three-quarters of the way through the first day to be honest, with them getting to 445-5 by the end of that opening day.
“It was also a difficult task for us when we followed on but I thought Ben Compton and Joe Denly’s 121-run stand on the third evening was critical and as for Daniel Bell-Drummond, he has batted superbly in both innings.
"He was frustrated to get out soon after reaching his hundred in the first innings but then to come out again second time around and bat like that just shows his strength of character and it’s great to see him back to his best in red-ball cricket.”