Batsmen Key as game heads for draw
Centuries from Rob Key and Brendan Nash helped Kent through to an impressive 513 and a first-innings lead of 108 in a high-scoring LV= County Championship clash with Hampshire that looks destined to end in a draw.
Key eventually fell for a season's best 180, while Nash hit an impish 126 with 17 fours during his near four-hour stay at the crease that helped Kent post their best first-innings total of the campaign.
On another scorching day in Canterbury, Hampshire reached in the 30 minutes through to the close and will go into the fourth and final day trailing Kent by 93 runs.
The hosts, resuming on their Tuesday night total of 200 for one and still trailing by 205, made a tidy start through second-wicket partners Key and Daniel Bell-Drummond, with both men hitting early boundaries.
Teenager Bell-Drummond moved his score on to 79, already a championship best, when he chased a wide delivery from James Tomlinson to edge to tumbling Hampshire wicketkeeper Adam Wheater.
Bell-Drummond's lapse in concentration ended a stand worth 191 in 55.3 overs and brought in former West Indies Test batsman Nash who, only four days earlier, had been forced to retire ill on 199 in his innings at Cheltenham Festival with sun stroke.
Nash and Key progressed steadily both side of lunch, the only scare either player suffered coming with Key on 141.
The former England batsman fended a lifting ball from Sean Ervine just short of Adam Rouse under the helmet at short-leg and went on to post his 150 from 235 balls and with 17 fours.
Kent's third-wicket partners took their stand to 113 before Key, only 20 short of a double hundred, slog swept at Danny Briggs to lose his middle and off stumps.
Ben Harmison, fresh from his maiden championship hundred for Kent against Gloucestershire, reached 24 before he pushed at one that held up on the surface from occasional spinner Michael Carberry to be caught at slip and make it 379 for four.
Darren Stevens marched in with Kent needing 21 from three overs to post their fifth batting bonus point, but the right-hander perished in the attempt and, after facing only nine balls, was caught and bowled by James Vince.
Geraint Jones and Nash combined to add 60 for the sixth wicket with Nash moving to his fourth century this term from 163 balls and with 13 boundaries.
The innings took Nash's championship tally for the season to 861 runs at a very respectable average of 61.5.
Jones departed for 13 when an Ervine off-cutter snared him leg before and Nash soon followed, caught behind off a bottom edge when looking to cut one from Liam Dawson.
Hampshire continued to run through the Kent tail when Tomlinson got one to hold its line against the St Lawrence slope to trap James Tredwell for two.
Vernon Philander had his off stump trimmed by Sohail Tanvir having added 23 and number 10 Calum Haggett was caught at extra cover for one less, driving on the up to leave Hampshire with seven overs to bat through to stumps.
See also:Key stars as runs flow