Patel plays his way to form

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Samit Patel

Samit Patel, in the unusual position of opener, held firm with an unbeaten 72 to secure a safe draw for Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire encountered few problems in batting out for a draw at Tunbridge Wells to stretch out a lead at the top of the LV= County Championship.

A tinder-dry and slow pitch offered little or no assistance to either spin or seam bowlers, and allowed Notts to negotiate 62 overs on the final day for the loss of only three wickets before the sides shook hands on a draw just before 5pm. The visitors took nine points to Kent’s 10.

Kent had earlier been made safe by their lower-order. Darren Stevens just missed out on the third double hundred of his career but his near six-hour stay, with 24 fours and two sixes, nevertheless helped the visitors ease into an impregnable first-innings lead of 108.

Notts lost promising opening batsman Alex Hales moments before lunch when the tall right-hander pulled a short one from Matt Coles into the hands of 12th man Warren Lee at deep midwicket.

Then, after a second-wicket stand of 103 in 36 overs, Mark Wagh played back to a turning ball from James Tredwell – his first of a new spell from the Railway End - that squeezed through bat and pad and onto off stump to make it 125 for two.

Kent gave their new overseas recruit Malinga Bandara a much-needed 25-over work out and were rewarded with the scalp of David Hussey for 22.

The Australia right-hander missed an attempted paddle sweep to lose his off stump, but it proved to be the final wicket of the game.

Makeshift opener Samit Patel marched on to post his first half-century of the summer, from 110 balls, with seven fours and a six, and was unbeaten on 76 when the umpires drew stumps.

Patel’s fourth-wicket partner Steven Mullaney also enjoyed the final session, reaching 48 from 47 balls, only to be denied his fifty when the game ended.

Stevens added 16 to his overnight 181 when he drove loosely outside off stump against Andre Adams to offer an inside edge to wicketkeeper Chris Read and bring to an end to a magnificent 238-ball stay.

Kent added 92 runs today despite losing Coles in the sixth over of the day.

Adams picked up a five-wicket haul with the prized scalp of Stevens then Paul Franks wrapped up the innings by taking the final two wickets.

He ended a ninth-wicket stand between Simon Cook and Bandara when the Sri Lankan holed out to long-on then polished the job off by pegging back the off stump of last man Amjad Khan.

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