Published: 19:36, 05 June 2021
| Updated: 19:43, 05 June 2021
Ollie Robinson hit his third first-class century as Kent dominated day three of their County Championship clash against Northants at Canterbury.
The wicketkeeper, who has moved up to open the batting in the past few weeks, scored 120 from 119 balls to take the limelight from the evergreen Darren Stevens, who had earlier taken the 31st five-wicket haul of his career.
Robinson, who earlier claimed the 100th catch of his career, enhanced his growing reputation with a brilliant knock that included 16 fours and three sixes as Kent reached 330-5 in reply to Northants 392 all out, a deficit of 62.
“I feel like it’s been a bit of a long time coming," said Robinson.
"I feel like I’ve been pretty good this year and haven’t quite got the score I wanted, but I’ve got it today so I’m pretty pleased.
"The celebration was a bit of everything really and my dad was here as well so it was nice for him to see it. There was a bit of relief and a bit of excitement in it.
"We've shown as a group what we are capable of batting and bowling wise. We've put ourselves in a pretty good spot in this game now."
After day two was washed out due to rain, there was a delayed start on Saturday with play not starting until just after the scheduled lunch break.
Stevens took 5-77 and Matt Quinn claimed 4-86 in his last Kent outing on loan from Essex as Northants added just 30 runs to their overnight score of 362-5.
Saif Zaib fell to the fifth ball of the day, edging Stevens behind for 21 and becoming Robinson's 100th victim with a brilliant one-handed dive low to his left.
Tom Taylor was lbw for 25 in Stevens’ next over and Quinn then took two wickets from three balls, getting Nathan Buck caught behind for four and removing Gareth Berg, caught by Jack Leaning at first slip for 10.
Northants missed out on a fourth bonus point when Stevens had Ben Sanderson caught behind for four.
Kent responded with their second century stand of the season for the first wicket. This time rather than Daniel Bell-Drummond and Jordan Cox, it was the latter alongside the talented Robinson.
Wicketkeeper Robinson, dropped on 48 by Berg, reached his century when he steered Berg through point for four.
He then hooked Berg for a third six over long leg and finally fell lbw to Buck having dominated an opening stand of 161 in 35.1 overs.
Cox reached his third half-century with a glanced four to third man and subsequently smashed spinner Simon Kerrigan for a six into the top tier of the Frank Woolley stand.
The returning Joe Denly was dropped on 38 when he edged Taylor to second slip, only for the ball to crash into Berg’s ribs. He passed fifty by smashing Kerrigan over the Woolley stand, before Kerrigan finally tasted success when he trapped Cox lbw for 90.
Rob Keogh had Denly caught at deep square leg for 63 with just his second ball by Zaib and Bell-Drummond hit two sixes in a quickfire 19 before he was trapped lbw by Kerrigan.
Kent then lost a fourth wicket in just 31 balls when Zaib had Leaning caught behind in the penultimate over of the day for a 12-ball 24.
Kerrigan finished with 2-80 in 14 overs and a draw seems likely on the final day, barring a sporting declaration or two.