Hildreth and Suppiah rescue Somerset
Centuries from James Hildreth and Arul Suppiah ensured LV= County Championship title contenders Somerset edged day one of their clash with Kent at Canterbury, finishing on 363 for seven.
Despite taking three wickets before lunch including the prized scalp of Marcus Trescothick for only five, the hosts could only watch as Hildreth and Suppiah added a record 253 for the fourth wicket.
It was Somerset’s best partnership of the season and eclipsed their fourth-wicket record against Kent of 210, set at the St Lawrence Ground by Steve Waugh and Ricky Bartlett in 1988.
The wristy Suppiah, who received notice 24 hours earlier from the Home Office that he was to be granted permanent leave to stay in the country, celebrated with a 184-ball century.
As Kent laboured for another breakthrough in a wicketless afternoon-session, Hildreth followed him to three figures from 129 balls with 15 fours.
The pair came together after Kent had bossed proceedings in the first session by taking three wickets after Somerset won the toss and elected to bat.
Trescothick edged a good ball from Azhar Mahmood that held its line despite the slope to have the left-hander caught at third slip.
An airy drive accounted for Zander de Bruyn when he edged Simon Cook’s first delivery to wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, before Amjad Khan bowled Jos Buttler with a yorker.
Hildreth could have been next to go, but Mahmood dropped him at first slip off Khan, a miss that would prove costly to say the least.
For the next 60 overs he and Suppiah mixed subtle strokes with well-timed counter attacks to leave the Kent fielders disconsolate.
Their stand was eventually ended when the latter, attempting a slog-sweep off James Tredwell, was easily caught by Stevens at deep midwicket for 121.
Two overs later, Hildreth, on 151, top-edged an attempted paddle, only to balloon a catch to Rob Key at short fine-leg.
Former Kent all-rounder Peter Trego was left high and dry when Craig Kieswetter set off for a tight third run, before former Kent favourite Ben Phillips was removed by Mahmood.