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Kent in charge at West End

Amjad Khan took his first championship wicket for 18 months
Amjad Khan took his first championship wicket for 18 months

Hampshire v Kent

For once the rain stayed away from The Rose Bowl allowing Kent to strengthen their grip on their LV Championship game against Hampshire that will, in all probability when considering the gloomy weather forecast for Monday, still end in a draw.

At Sunday’s close Kent, having posted a season’s best 431-8 declared, had reduced the hosts to 130-5 as they set off in their quest to reach 282 and thereby avoid the follow-on.

Michael Brown and Jimmy Adams went before tea then John Crawley, Michael Carberry and Michael Lumb followed in the final session as Kent pressed for an unlikely win.

Though it was wonderful to see pacemen Robbie Joseph and Amjad Khan back in tandem again - this was Khan’s first championship appearance in 18 months - they proved rather erratic with the new ball in allowing Carberry (32) and Brown (20) to get off to a decent start.

Hampshire had 42 runs on the board within 12 overs before Azhar Mahmood replaced Khan at the Northern End to make the opening breakthrough with his first ball of the game.

Half-forward to an off-cutter, Brown went leg before for 20 then, one run later, Adams played an airy back-foot force off a loose delivery from McLaren to pick out Joe Denly fielding at cover point.

Joseph and Khan then switched ends and both were rewarded with wickets in their opening overs.

Khan took his first wicket since August 2006 by having Crawley (5) caught off a top-edged pull at mid-on then, in the next over, Joseph snared Carberry leg before with a full length in-swinger that appeared to hit the left-hander on the boot.

McLaren also took a wicket in the first over of a new spell by having Lumb (5) caught behind off an away-swinger, but Greg Lamb, who took 44 minutes to get off the mark, teamed up with Dimitri Mascarenhas to see Hampshire through to the close without further loss.

Mascarenhas might have gone for 18 after losing his off stump to a Joseph in-swinger, only for umpire Jeremy Lloyds to call him for a no ball, that after warning the bowler only two deliveries earlier.

Earlier, Kent recorded their first maximum batting bonus points haul in nine months before declaring just before 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

It was Justin Kemp who gave the visitors good early impetus by taking on the second new ball with an array of attacking shots.

The tall right-hander drove and cut hard to bludgeon seven boundaries on his way to a 59-ball half-century, his first of the championship summer.

However, Kemp aimed to hook his very next delivery from Chris Tremlett and only succeeded in picking out James Tomlinson on the deep mid-wicket boundary to end a fifth wicket stand worth 87 in 17 overs.

Along the way the pair took Kent past 324 (their highest total of the summer to date), scored against New Zealand at Canterbury in April. This was also Kent’s first 300-plus championship score of 2008 and their best since their win against Hampshire on this ground last September.

Kemp was replaced by Geraint Jones, who took up the stroke-maker’s mantle leaving van Jaarsveld to hold down one end.

Jones clattered a couple of boundaries on his way to nine but, on the cusp of the interval, he went back to a Mascarenhas in-ducker and inside edged a catch through to keeper Tom Burrows.

Van Jaarsveld had simply batted time allowing others to play their shots around him. Though his was a vital role, he added only 16 runs in the one-hour session through to lunch and went soon after for 133 when gloving an attempted pull shot leg-side to Burrows.

In all the South African batted just over five-and-a-half hours and hit 15 fours and a six.

Azhar Mahmood and McLaren added breezy cameos of 42 and 13, the latter edging to the keeper to spark Key’s declaration after 107.4 overs.

In a disappointing Hampshire bowling performance, Tomlinson took 3-116 and Tremlett 2-68.

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