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Kent (261 & 71-1) need 93 more runs to beat Lancashire (92 & 332) with nine second innings wickets remaining at Old Trafford

Kent remain on track for their first Vitality County Championship win of the season despite coming up against some stubborn Lancashire batting on day three.

The visitors need just 93 more runs on the final day at Old Trafford, with nine wickets in hand, to clinch their opening victory.

Wes Agar - finished with match figures of 7-100 for Kent at Lancashire. Picture: Keith Gillard
Wes Agar - finished with match figures of 7-100 for Kent at Lancashire. Picture: Keith Gillard

Lancashire, who resumed on 119-4, were bowled out for 332 in their second innings with Kent set 164 for victory.

Ben Compton and Daniel Bell-Drummond made light of the loss of England opener Zak Crawley for one and had steered their side to 71-1 at the close.

“To make them follow-on put us in a position of power,” said Kent’s Wes Agar. “We knew it would be harder in their second innings but I’m really proud of the way we kept fighting to create chances.

“It was a very different day today. With the sun out we had to put more energy into the wicket but Lancashire are a tough team and they are known for that.

“To watch the boys go out tonight under pressure and to be only one down at close of play is something that I’m really proud of and we’re really proud of as a group.

“Parky bowls 40 overs and goes at two an over. He’s always asking questions and he’s so consistent. A lot of spinners have to be patient and Parky showed immense skill and immense control today.

“I’m really glad he got his wickets at the end. On a hot day, the spinners do give us that rest and allow us to have energy on the new ball when it becomes available. If we’re tired, it just gets away from us.

“I’m loving being back at Kent, it’s like a home away from home for me.”

The morning session began badly for Lancashire when Tom Bruce was bowled for 12 when playing down the wrong line to Agar to leave them 122-5.

George Balderson and George Bell put together a 75-run partnership for the sixth wicket that was only ended when Balderson, having made a composed 48, attempted to cut a ball from Jack Leaning and edged a catch to skipper Bell-Drummond in the gully.

However, Balderson and Bell’s stand had ensured that Lancashire avoided an innings defeat and their calm accumulation was maintained by Bell and Matty Hurst either side of lunch.

Bell reached his fifty off 114 balls when he pulled a long hop from Joe Denly to the mid-wicket boundary but was well caught by Harry Finch for 65 when he couldn’t avoid a good ball from Agar and edged a catch wide to the keeper’s right.

The pair’s seventh-wicket stand of 78 had extended their side’s lead to 106 and the good work was continued by Hurst and Tom Hartley, with the former reaching his half-century off 134 balls.

Hurst and Hartley brought up their side’s third 50-plus partnership of the day shortly after tea but any hopes Lancashire might set their opponents a target in excess of 200 were quickly extinguished when they lost their last three wickets for as many runs in 15 balls.

The patient Hurst was caught at slip by Bell-Drummond off Matt Parkinson for 58, Tom Bailey was leg before to Agar for a single and then Hartley was bowled round his legs by Parkinson for 35 to leave the Kent leg-spinner with figures of 3-70 on his return to Old Trafford. Agar took 3-65 and returned match figures of 7-100.

Kent’s pursuit of their modest target began badly when Crawley was leg before to Balderson’s seventh ball of the innings for one but Compton and Bell-Drummond survived a series of confident appeals, many of them coming from Nathan Lyon.

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