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Kent make the most of their good fortune

Darren Stevens scored a season's best 127
Darren Stevens scored a season's best 127

Hampshire v Kent

First championship centuries of the summer by Darren Stevens and Martin van Jaarsveld helped Kent into a commanding position after day two of their rain-reduced game with Hampshire at The Rose Bowl.

Having struggled early on after being invited to bat on a green-tinted pitch, Kent went in at stumps in sight of their third batting bonus point on 294-4 with van Jaarsveld fresh from posting a 180-ball ton with 12 fours and a six. His fellow South African Justin Kemp was also unbeaten on 18.

Stevens took full advantage of three let-offs to score 127 from 176-balls with three sixes and 13 fours for his part in a fourth-wicket stand of 210 with van Jaarsveld.

The loss of skipper Rob Key for 21, soon after lunch, left Kent in trouble on 44-3 but the visitors dug themselves out of a hole through vice skipper van Jaarsveld and Stevens, who batted together for 55 overs.

Without addition to his lunch-time score Key sparred at a belting delivery from Chris Tremlett that lifted and left the right-hander to feather the outside edge and fly to Jimmy Adams at second slip.

Stevens marched in, clearly intent on counter-attacking, but should have been made to pay for his early misdemeanors.

He was dropped on four, when Michael Lumb downed a slip chance off James Tomlinson, then again on five when Michael Brown grassed a diving chance in the gully off Tremlett.

Moments after posting a 65-ball half-century with a six and seven fours (his first of the championship season), Stevens was dropped for a third time when Adams fumbled at second slip off Dimitri Mascarenhas.

Riding his luck, Stevens clattered a second six off Greg Lamb over mid-wicket as he and van Jaarsveld posted a 100 stand in 25 overs.

Kent had lost two wickets in the opening hour once play finally got underway at 12.30pm after the loss of the opening day and a further 90 minutes on Saturday, or the equivalent of 112 overs lost.

Kent went in at lunch after an hour’s play on 39-2 with Joe Denly and James Tredwell the men to go in the opening 14 over-session.

Denly, fresh from his career-best 149 at Tunbridge Wells seven days before, went to the 13th ball of the match and the seventh from Kiwi strike bowler Shane Bond.

Looking to force through the covers off the back foot, Denly played too far away from the body and edged a regulation catch to Adams at second slip to go without scoring.

Skipper Rob Key opened his boundary account with a push drive against Bond that sped to the ropes at cover as he and Tredwell added 37 for the second wicket until the left-handed Tredwell fell before the break for 15.

Having just steered a boundary to third man off Tomlinson, Tredwell, in attempting to work a straight delivery through mid-wicket, missed the ball and went leg before.

Kent team: Key, Denly, Tredwell, van Jaarsveld, Stevens, Jones, Kemp, McLaren, Mahmood, Joseph, Khan.12th man: Cook.

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