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Vital Division Two game finely poised

Kent CCC

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Third-placed Kent hold a precious 120-run lead over LV= County Championship Division Two leaders Derbyshire at Canterbury despite losing three wickets at the end of the second day.

Having reached 58 without loss in their second innings, thanks to openers Rob Key and Sam Northeast, the hosts let things slip before stumps to finish on 59 for three.

Kent skipper Key was bowled around his legs by Wes Durston, who then bamboozled nightwatchman Mark Davies to clip off stump.

Then, in the final over of the day, Northeast called for a single to expose Kent's under-pressure Alex Blake - who duly nicked a delivery to the wicketkeeper to send the visitors in jubilant.

Mark Davies

Mark Davies' immaculate figures of 5-27 from 18 overs aided Kent's first-innings lead of 61, an advantage they extended to 120 by stumps

Derbyshire's last-gasp recovery changed the dimension of a day on which Kent's miserly seam attack controlled the best part of two sessions.

Former Durham seamer Davies set the initial tone by reeling off six consecutive maidens at the start of the day as the visitors, resuming on 32 for one, stumbled in at lunch on 96 for four having added only 64.

Charlie Shreck, formerly of Nottinghamshire, played his part with another miserly stint of 7-3-13-0 as Derbyshire struggled to get the ball off the square.

A frustrated Durston attempted to take charge by dancing down the pitch to whip a length-ball from Davies through leg-side, but succeeded only in chipping a catch to mid-off.

While Davies and Shreck took a rest, off-spinner Adam Riley had Paul Borrington caught at short-leg. Then, just before lunch, Dan Redfern edged to the wicketkeeper off the lively Matt Coles.

Davies returned after the break to take 3-8 in six overs for figures of 5-27 - his first five-wicket haul for his new county. The second was the prized scalp of Wayne Madsen, who took more than three hours to score an obdurate 64.

Derbyshire countered through Tim Groenewald and wicketkeeper Tom Poynton, who added a crucial 51 in 10.4 overs either side of tea for the ninth wicket, before Kent's attack finally rediscovered their range.

Brendan Nash held a sharp return catch to account for Groenewald on 22 before Coles plucked out Poynton's middle stump with a yorker to end Derbyshire’s innings on 200 and Poynton’s on 45.

With a precious first-innings lead of 61, Kent looked untroubled in building their advantage to three figures before Derbyshire countered by taking three wickets for one run in the final 31 deliveries of the day.

Key, flicking to leg, allowed the ball to turn behind his legs, nightwatchman Davies was outwitted and Blake followed to leave the game beautifully poised going into the third day.

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