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Grant Stewart hits quickfire half-century as Kent declare on 519-9 before reducing Northants to 21-2

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Grant Stewart shone with bat and ball as Kent moved into a dominant position after a rain-affected day at Northants on Friday.

Rain wiped out the morning session but Kent put their foot on the accelerator in the afternoon to declare on 519-9 before reducing the hosts to 21-2 in their LV= Insurance County Championship clash.

Grant Stewart - scored 61 off 44 balls for Kent at Northants. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Grant Stewart - scored 61 off 44 balls for Kent at Northants. Picture: Barry Goodwin

When play started at 2pm, Ben Compton moved on to 140 before he was brilliantly caught in the gully by Ben Curran off Ben Sanderson.

Jordan Cox played on to Gareth Berg for five before Ollie Robinson, having looked in sublime form with a couple of sweetly-struck boundaries, edged to first slip for 21 off 15 balls.

It meant a busy opening hour saw Kent advance from 286-2 to 348-5, narrowly missing out on an additional bonus batting point.

Skipper Jack Leaning remained untroubled at the other end, going through to his half-century with a lovely flick through mid-wicket.

Darren Stevens went for 19 before Leaning departed for 62, caught and bowled off a leading edge by Tom Taylor as he was through his shot too quickly.

At 417-7 there was still work for Kent to do. George Linde made 31 before being well caught at long-on by Matthew Kelly off Rob Keogh (2-104).

That left Stewart and Matt Quinn to finish the innings with a flourish. The pair put on 65 in seven overs, Stewart hitting five sixes in his 44-ball 61.

One maximum off Keogh, which comfortably cleared the Lynn Wilson Indoor School, was conservatively estimated at 120 metres. The declaration coming when Stewart was trapped in front by Luke Procter, Quinn hit a six and a four to finish 19 not out.

Northants had 13 overs left to bat on the day, Curran clipping Stewart (1-6) to Linde at mid-wicket.

Stevens (1-11) then trapped Emilio Gay in front for five as the hosts closed the day 21-2, still 498 runs behind Kent.

"I'm really happy," said skipper Leaning. "It is nice to be on the reverse side of it at the moment. Sticking 500 ourselves and having them a couple down overnight is very welcome.

"I felt scratchy to start with and got more fluent as I went through my innings. I would have liked a few more but from a team's perspective we are in a great spot and chipped in.

"Grant has been working on his striking a lot with T20 coming up and he got an early work out with it today! Hopefully we see a lot more of that in the coming weeks.

"That hitting isn't even surprising, we see it all the time in the nets so when he does it in the middle it isn't a surprise any more. He's a big bloke and strong guy so he clears any boundary with ease."

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