Middlesex in control at Canterbury
Middlesex 55 for 0 v Kent 242
Title-chasing Middlesex did their promotion cause the world of good by dismissing Kent for 242 on day one of their Division Two match at Canterbury. When bad light ended play early with 18 overs of the day still remaining, the visitors had reached 55 without loss in reply with Scott Newman on 16 and Sam Robson unbeaten with 37.
Having elected to bat first, in what transpired to be the brightest conditions of the day, Kent made a watchful start through openers Rob Key and Joe Denly. Against a seaming ball, the pair mustered 24 runs and only four boundaries in the opening hour in the face of a stern examination by Corey Collymore, Tim Murtagh and Steven Crook - the nominated player to stand aside should Steve Finn return from England stand-by on day two.
Crook found the outside edge three times only to see the opportunities fall short of the slip cordon, leaving Collymore to make the first breakthrough by having Key (17) caught low at slip by Dawid Malan as the Kent skipper aimed a back-foot force through the offside.
Only 10 runs later Sam Northeast (3) nicked another fine delivery from Crook into the gloves of wicketkeeper John Simpson and, without addition to his lunch-time score of 2, Martin van Jaarsveld fell in identical fashion as the Kent innings began to unravel.
Having looked sound in reaching his 84-ball half-century, Denly's two-hour stay ended when Murtagh trapped him leg before prodding forward, bringing together Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones for a bright fifth-wicket riposte. With both right-handers going for their strokes, Kent added 45 in 9.2 overs before Collymore returned to snare Jones lbw on his way to eventual figures of 4 for 69.
Azhar Mahmood fenced Collymore's next ball toward mid-on and looked vaguely interested in a single, but Stevens said no and as Mahmood dithered Collymore threw down the striker's end stumps to run out Mahmood as he lazily tried to dot down his bat.
Stevens' cameo knock for 27 ended when he chopped on against former team-mate Neil Dexter, then Collymore had Adam Ball snaffled at second slip with Kent still 45 short of a batting point. It took a bright stand of 57 for the ninth wicket - the second best of the innings - between Matt Coles (41) and James Tredwell (31) to take Kent through to 200 and their sole batting point.
Tredwell's fun ended when he dragged one from Collymore onto middle stump, then Coles pulled one from Murtagh into the hands of Jamie Dalrymple on the ropes at deep midwicket.