Kent v Lancashire Day three
Kent spearhead bowler Robbie Joseph bagged three wickets in four balls and Ryan McLaren bagged one after tea to reduce Lancashire to 161-4 at the close of Friday’s play in Canterbury.
The Red Rose county recovered from the parlous state of 17-3 after Joseph had bagged three wickets in his third over of the innings to move within 315 runs of victory with six, second innings wicket in hand.
At the start of their innings Lancashire’s Paul Horton (17) fenced a lifter to second slip where Martin van Jaarsveld took a great catch diving to his left then next ball up Mal Loye (0) nicked a leg-cutter to the keeper.
Francois du Plessis played and missed at the hat-trick ball, but he planted his front foot at the next and allowed it to thump into his left pad forcing umpire Mike Harris to send him packing leg before for a second ball duck.
Mark Chilton and Steve Croft re-grouped thereafter with a fourth-wicket stand worth 125 in 32 overs that ended soon after tea when McLaren had Croft caught at the wicket when driving for 68.
Former captain Chilton dug in to make it through to the close on 69 not out and Luke Sutton kept him company with three, but Kent are still favourites for victory as they go into the final day needing only six more wickets to wrap up a valuable win.
Earlier, Joe Denley's second championship hundred of the summer helped Kent reach 317-4 declared – an overall lead of 475 before Kent skipper Rob Key declared to leave the visitors a minimum of 146 overs to chase down the runs.
The young opening bat posted a 192-ball ton with 10 fours and went into lunch on 118 not out, but he perished three balls after the break after cutting a ball from Steve Croft to sub fielder Tom Smith at cover point.
Van Jaarsveld reached a 70-ball 50 soon after but, to the very next ball worked across the line to Croft and went leg before to make it 268-4.
Darren Stevens (30 not out) and Geraint Jones (21 not out) too Kent’s score beyond 300 and at 2.32pm, Key declared to leave Lancashire four and a half sessions to chase down a mammoth 476.
Kent’s first casualty of the day had been Neil Dexter who, after six overs and with his score on 75 from 153 balls, the right-hander cut hard at a ball from spinner Gary Keedy and edged to Dominic Cork at slip to end a second-wicket stand worth 152 in 50 overs with Denly.