Mahmood sparks Kent turnaround
Gloucestershire 292 for 9 v Kent
Half-centuries from Chris Taylor and Hamish Marshall helped Gloucestershire to edge towards a competitive 292 for 9 at the end of day one of their County Championship Division Two clash against Kent at Canterbury.
Workers employed on the St Lawrence redevelopment project were content to get on with their chores throughout a turgid opening session that saw Gloucestershire post 94 runs without alarm after electing to take first use of a docile pitch.
Kent gave a Championship debut to 18-year-old left-arm pace bowler Adam Ball, but the home attack barely beat the bat during the opening two hours as openers Ian Cockbain and Marshall set out to lay solid foundations.
Ball, who played in last season's Under-19 World Cup for England, was eventually introduced as third change and sparked the first appeal of the game after 85 minutes with one that nipped back to brush Marshall's back pad, though the ball was going over the stumps.
The cloud cover dissipated during the interval and in warmer conditions Kent emerged from their pristine new dressing rooms to bag 6 for 106 in the afternoon session, including an eight-ball purple patch of three for none by veteran Azhar Mahmood.
The former Pakistan allrounder had Cockbain caught at slip for 34, bowled Richard Coughtrie via the face of his bat as he made a late and abortive bid to shoulder arms, then ended Marshall's 131-ball stay for 72 after winning a leg before verdict.
Gloucestershire's new-look middle order continued to unravel when Darren Stevens returned to have Alex Gidman (24) caught at second slip and trap Jonathan Batty lbw for a six-ball duck with a shooting off-cutter. Seven overs later his sibling Will Gidman padded up to a James Tredwell arm ball that clipped off stump and sent the visitors to tea on 198 for 6.
Former Gloucestershire skipper Taylor mounted a partial recovery in the final session as he and Ian Saxelby added 74 for the seventh wicket until the second new ball gave Kent's attack a cutting edge.
With 250 on the board Saxelby (28) fended one from Robbie Joseph low to gully. Next, Taylor's 201-minute vigil ended for 71 when he played across the second ball of a new spell from Simon Cook to lose his leg stump. In his next over Cook ran one back up the slope to feather the inside edge of Jonathan Lewis' bat and give wicketkeeper Geraint Jones his first catch.
Cook finished with 2 for 40 and Stevens 2 for 36, but it was Mahmood's post-lunch return of 3 for 52 that undoubtedly turned the course of the day's events.