Tomlinson to the fore for Hampshire

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James Tomlinson

Four wickets for James Tomlinson helped bowl Kent out for a meagre 182 and earn Hampshire a 22-run first-innings cushion

James Tomlinson bagged 4-59 to help skittle Kent for 182 and give fellow relegation candidates Hampshire a slender first-innings lead on a second day cut short by rain and bad light.

Heavy overnight rain followed by early-morning showers at Canterbury put paid to the entire morning session but umpires Nigel Cowley and Rob Bailey finally decreed that play could get under way at 1.35pm with the loss of 30 overs.

Resuming on 15 for one in reply to Hampshire’s 204, Kent lost three wickets in the afternoon session but capitulated after tea as Tomlinson and veteran skipper Dominic Cork, who took 3-44, prospered. Sean Ervine chipped in with 2-35.

Despite gloomy overhead conditions, Kent made a bright start in adding 36 to their overnight score inside 10 overs before suffering their first casualty.

Rob Key played across the line of a Cork off-cutter to go leg before for 19 - he did not hit a boundary off the 82 balls he faced - leaving Kent 41 for two.

Joe Denly and Martin van Jaarsveld doubled the total before, who top-scored with 42, pushed defensively inside the line of an Ervine leg-cutter that clattered into middle and off stumps.

Geraint Jones was next to go, leg before for five as he attempted to drive left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, although he walked off ruefully inspecting the inside edge of his bat.

Kent’s demise gathered momentum after tea as they lost their last six wickets for 47 runs.

All looked set fair until Darren Stevens, on 13, aimed an airy drive at Tomlinson to be caught behind by Michael Bates.

Alex Blake, beaten for pace, went leg before and, though James Tredwell glanced the hat-trick ball to fine-leg for four, Kent were already on the slide.

In the next over van Jaarsveld had his off stump plucked out by Cork to depart for 41 as Kent conspired to lose three wickets for four runs in the space of five balls.

Malinga Bandara and Matt Coles both attempted to hit out lustily, only to fall to Tomlinson, then Tredwell holed out at deep midwicket to give Ervine a cheap wicket and end a last-wicket stand of 22.

Despite fading light, Hampshire’s openers Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams saw Hampshire to 16 without loss by stumps, the latter surviving the only concerted appeal by Bandara for a potential lbw decision as the lead was stretched to 38.