Published: 18:40, 19 May 2022
| Updated: 19:21, 19 May 2022
Ben Compton continued his golden summer with another brilliant century for Kent on Thursday.
The 28-year-old made an unbeaten 125 as Kent made Northants regret their decision to bowl first in their LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Northampton.
All eyes were on Compton's opening partner Zak Crawley, named in the England Test squad on Wednesday, at the start of the day after Ricardo Vasconcelos had put Kent in on a wicket which looked like, and proved to be, good for batting.
The first ball Crawley faced was pulled forcefully to the boundary, he edged his second ball just short of second slip before another four off his hips.
The all-action opening slowed into a more sedate pace as both Crawley and Compton left and defended the ball with great skill, albeit with little movement assisting the bowlers. Crawley was particularly patient outside his off stump.
Crawley’s half-century, his second of the summer, came in 75 balls, with the opening duo putting on 93 before Crawley edged Matthew Kelly behind for a season's best 62 just after lunch.
At the other end, Compton was less fluent but more effective as he went on to bat throughout the entire opening day. Having struggled with the short ball for a period at Beckenham against Surrey last week, Northants opted for a similar approach but Compton was untroubled on this occasion.
He is Division 1's leading runscorer (795), faced the most balls (1,960) and clocked up the most boundaries (98). He has now batted for 43 hours and 12 minutes, and has blocked out 1,534 dot balls.
It took him 53 minutes to reach double figures at Wantage Road with his fifty coming in 131 deliveries. There were moments of lucidity, namely a couple of cover drives and a pull which he thought had taken him to three figures. It quickly emerged the scorers had miscounted and he was forced to celebrate his century a second time, this time after a sweep shot.
Daniel Bell-Drummond kept the runs steadily amassing in the afternoon but he fell short of a third century of the summer, despite having an escape when on 77.
He was dropped by Emilio Gay at second slip off Ben Sanderson with the score 257-1 in the 83rd over, playing defensively away from his body. The second new ball offered more movement than the first, and Bell-Drummond edged Sanderson to Vasconcelos diving wide at first slip four overs later for 83.
Skipper Jack Leaning ensured there were no further alarms for Kent as he made a patient five not out from 37 deliveries, many of which were too wide of his off stump to tempt a shot.
“I think Zak looked in great touch today," said Compton. "It was good to see him back firing.
“He is a pretty steady and impressive character. He isn’t someone who gets to high or low and understands the game can go up and down. It was nice to see him get rewarded especially as he has played nicely in tricky periods but not quite seen the fruits of that labour.
“I don’t get bored out there, I’m just trying to do a job for the team. I know I need to bat long and be the glue and get us a strong platform at the top.
“It was tricky and I struggled for rhythm until I got to about 50-something. I grafted but Deebz and I understood it wasn’t a pitch to feel a million dollars.
"It is a bit on the slow side so I had to work through it and it got better.”