Lancashire show their mettle
Highlights of day two as Division Two champions Lancashire end their campaign against Kent
Division Two champions Lancashire look set to finish the LV= County Championship season unbeaten after strengthening their grip on proceedings against Kent at Canterbury.
Lancashire reached the mid-point of the clash on in their second innings - boasting a lead of 99.
Having dismissed Kent for 260 to claim a narrow first-innings advantage of 24, Red Rose openers Paul Horton and Luis Reece survived 21 overs to dent Kent's hopes of notching a first home win of the season in four-day cricket.
Kent started the day brightly, taking Lancashire’s final two wickets for the addition of just 15 runs as Ashwell Prince failed to add to his overnight 134.
However, Kent’s batting was again found wanting until former skipper Rob Key dug in to record his fifth hundred of the championship campaign.
The hosts suffered a miserable start and at seven for three the follow-on looked a real possibility until Key saved face with a 118-ball century.
Sam Northeast was held at midwicket for a 13-ball duck to become Kyle Jarvis’ first Lancashire victim, while Oliver Newby bowled Daniel Bell-Drummond through the gate and had Brendan Nash caught at third slip by Tom Smith at the second attempt.
Key found a willing ally in fourth-wicket partner Ben Harmison, the pair adding 158 in 35.1 overs either side of lunch.
Harmison posted his fifth half-century of an improving campaign from 103 balls and Key looked comfortable throughout an innings that spanned a shade over four hours.
Harmison celebrated his fifty with a six off Newby but the bowler enjoyed revenge soon after when trapping the left-hander lbw for 59.
Kent then saw Darren Stevens fall in similar fashion to the lively Jarvis and only 41 runs were added for the final five wickets.
Sam Billings was superbly caught one-handed at second slip by Andrea Agathangelou, Adam Ball also went leg-before and James Tredwell shouldered arms against Tom Smith to lose his off stump.
Key then went for 134, snared by spinner Stephen Parry, who also bowled last man Matt Hunn to give Lancashire a narrow lead.
At the start of the day Kent required barely half-an-hour to polish off Lancashire’s first innings.
Debutant Hunn had Prince pocketed at second slip en route to figures of 2-51 and Stevens bagged his 200th first-class wicket by having Parry caught in the cordon.