Stevens and Jones rescue Kent
Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones were responsible for an amazing Kent recovery on day three of their match against Essex at Chelmsford.
After coming together on a rain-ruined opening day with the score at nine for five, the experienced duo took their partnership on to 194 before a second collapse saw Kent dismissed for 225.
Stevens contributed 119 from 170 balls, many of his 16 fours coming from fluent drives on either side of the wicket, while Jones was last out for 88 when he drove David Masters into the hands of Charl Willoughby at long-off.
Willoughby had earlier picked up the prized scalp of Stevens, who sliced to point, to complete a five-wicket haul. In between, off-spinner Tom Westley picked up three in the space of eight balls at a cost of a single run as Kent slumped rapidly following the departure of Stevens.
Essex, for whom Ravi Bopara suffered a strained quad prior to lunch, responded with 94 for two, thanks largely to 61 from former captain Mark Pettini.
Bopara, in contention for the first Investec Test between England and West Indies next week, left at the end of the day to visit hospital for what was described as “a precautionary scan”.
Apart from the excellent Stevens and Jones, no other Kent batsman reached double figures - with the remaining nine batsmen managing only 11 runs between them.
Willoughby returned figures of 5-70 runs from 20 overs, while Westley took a championship-best 3-5 and Masters 2-55.
Alastair Cook’s dismissal from a ball that nipped back soon had Essex on the back foot in reply.
Just three runs were on the board as Cook made his way back to the pavilion and, from the next delivery, Westley was caught behind off a ball which lifted and left him.
Westley found himself promoted to number three because Alviro Petersen had been off the field resting a twisted ankle, while Bopara’s thigh problem kept him out.
In their absence, Pettini, ably supported by Billy Godleman, launched an Essex revival.
While Godleman was content to drop anchor, Pettini adopted a much more aggressive approach and brought up the fifty with three boundaries in an over from Stevens.
He was to go on and complete his own half-century, from 83 balls, with a seventh boundary and had moved to 61 at the close, with Godleman having made 27 not out from 118 balls.