Hall gives Kent the shakes
Kent made a faltering reply on the second day of their LV= County Championship clash at Canterbury, closing on 123 for three in response to Northamptonshire’s 418.
Having taken just over nine hours to dismiss the visitors on what appeared a placid pitch, Kent’s top order all experienced some difficulty contending with fading light and variable bounce.
The hosts lost on-loan opening batsman Scott Newman for 16 soon after tea when the left-hander found an inside edge against Lee Daggett that ricocheted onto off stump to make it 38 for one.
But it was the bowling of Northamptonshire skipper Andrew Hall that seemingly derailed Kent's reply midway through the final session.
The South African all-rounder ended a second-wicket stand of 63 by enticing left-hander Ben Harmison to drive wide outside off-stump and pick out David Willey at backward point.
Then, in his next over from the Nackington Road End, Hall got one to hold its line against the slope and brush the edge of Rob Key’s bat, giving a regulation catch to ex- Kent wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien.
Key batted a shade over two hours for his 48 and, with the floodlights on, fourth-wicket partners Michael Powell and Brendan Nash saw out the final half hour to take Kent into day three trailing by 295.
The day had started with David Sales and James Middlebrook hogging centre stage with a Northamptonshire record fifth-wicket stand against Kent worth 205 in 66.1 overs.
The pair beat the county’s previous best against Kent of 187 set by Rob Bailey and Richard Williams at Wantage Road 22 years ago.
Sales contributed an excellent 140 to the cause, having batted 319 minutes for his part in the stand.
After driving James Tredwell for two successive boundaries, Sales attempted an impudent lap-sweep against the England off-spinner only to top-edge to the keeper.
Middlebrook went leg before soon after, off balance and playing across the line to a full ball from Matt Coles to depart for 73, bringing Con de Lange and David Willey together for another century stand, this time for the seventh wicket.
On a docile pitch and against an old ball, run-scoring became such an easy pastime that Key introduced his own brand of slow bowling in an effort to encourage an early declaration.
His one over cost 11 runs, but failed to have the desired effect as the visitors batted on.
Willey was finally caught in the deep for a career-best 64 from 85 balls, Daggett clipped one to short mid-on then last man Jack Brooks dragged on against Darren Stevens to complete the Northamptonshire innings at 3:41pm.