Kent wobble after huge opening stand
Rob Key and Sam Northeast each scored centuries to put Kent in the driving seat before Hampshire belatedly fought back with a late flurry of wickets on day two at the Ageas Bowl.
Skipper Key and highly-rated youngster Northeast shared an opening stand of 252 as the home bowlers struggled to cope on an easy-paced wicket for much of the day.
However, Hampshire responded by dismissing five batsmen towards the end of the day, including Northeast for 136 and Key, whose 119 came to an end in the final over before stumps.
Kent, in response to Hampshire’s first-innings total of 292, closed on 291 for five, having surrendered a seemingly dominant position.
Hampshire were 292 for nine overnight, but lasted only two balls today; Mark Davies had Danny Briggs caught in the slips by James Tredwell to complete figures of 3-36.
Key and Northeast soon made Hampshire's total look inadequate as they remained together until the 77th over, when Kent finally lost their first wicket.
Northeast had faced 259 balls for his fifth career century and hit 14 fours before being caught behind by wicketkeeper Michael Bates off Sean Ervine.
At that stage Kent were only 40 behind and had nine wickets in hand but Hampshire fought back impressively thereafter.
Ben Harmison was the next to go at 273, snapped up at first slip by Liam Dawson off David Balcombe at the start of a collapse that saw four wickets fall for 18 runs.
Brendan Nash made only five before James Tomlinson found a way through his defences and the left-arm pace bowler struck twice more before the close.
Michael Powell was caught behind at 288 and then, with only four balls remaining before stumps, Key's day-long vigil at last came to an end.
The former England batsman, whose century was his 46th in first-class cricket, had looked secure throughout until he followed an outswinger and Bates again clutched the catch.
Key's hundred occupied 234 balls and he hit 16 fours but was the junior partner to Northeast as Kent set the platform for a formidable total.
Tomlinson, who had little luck earlier in the day, finished with figures of 3-45, having provided Hampshire with renewed hope.