Edwards at the double

Lv County Championship

Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards' two wickets helped reduce Northants to 143 for five on a day reduced to 32 overs by rain

Debutant Phil Edwards grabbed two quick wickets to drag Kent back into contention on a truncated second day in their LV= County Championship clash with Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

Only Rob Key was among the runs as the leaders struggled to a below-par 244 all out on day one, but, inspired by Edwards, the visitors fought back gamely today.

Answering Kent’s injury crisis, Edwards, whose previous five first-class wickets came for Cambridge UCCE, produced swing and seam movement to remove Northants’ overnight pair Niall O’Brien and Rob White in a fine spell of 2-15.

With Amjad Khan, Ryan McLaren, Robbie Joseph and Martin Saggers sidelined, the 25-year-old led the charge as Kent struck five times in a two-hour session to reduce Northants to 143 for five by the close.

After being reduced to 56 for three, Riki Wessels’ unbeaten 47 steadied the Northants ship but, with the Kent spinners finding some turn, the league leaders will be confident of ripping through home side’s lower order tomorrow.

Six hours of steady rain prevented play getting under way until 4.30pm, leaving 32 overs in overcast conditions.

Tall seamer Edwards was quickly into his stride, removing the dangerous White in the third over courtesy of a neat catch at first slip by Justin Kemp.

Former Middlesex paceman Simon Cook was relishing the chance to lead the Kent attack and found good pace and bounce from the normally docile Wantage Road surface to trouble the batsmen.

However, it was Edwards who struck again in his third over, as Irish international keeper O’Brien edged into Kemp’s safe hands.

Wessels and Alex Wakely built an eye-catching fourth wicket partnership peppered with fine strokes. Wessels clipped Edwards through mid-on for four before glancing Cook to the long-leg boundary, causing Kent captain Key to introduce James Tredwell and Kemp into the attack.

Tredwell found immediate bounce and turn from the Pavilion End, enabling his skipper to surround Wakely with four close catchers.

And the off-spinner duly struck when Key clung on to a diving catch at backward square-leg when Wakely attempted a paddle sweep.

Encouraged by the help from the surface, Key threw the ball to slow left-armer Rob Furley two overs before the close.

And he was immediately rewarded with the scalp of Northants captain Nicky Boje, bowled through the gate as he attempted to drive.

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