Kent v Northamptonshire, Canterbury, 3rd day May 18, 2012

Kent dig in as another draw looms

Kent 280 for 6 (Powell 61, Hall 3-39) trail Northamptonshire 418 (Sales 140) by 138 runs

Kent edged towards safety in their Division Two match with Northamptonshire at Canterbury as they closed a rain-affected third day on 280 for 6. Crucially, they managed to inch past the follow-on figure of 269 to keep themselves on course for their fifth draw in six.

With the floodlights on and the square swathed in sheets and pitch covers, match umpires Nigel Cowley and Nick Cook had no choice but to call proceedings off at 6pm, with Kent still 138 behind their opponents' first-inning total of 418. It was all a familiar tale for Northamptonshire, who have already lost a total of 656 overs to inclement weather so far this season.

Having resumed on 123 for 3, Kent lost overseas all-rounder Brendan Nash in the fourth over to only the seventh ball of the day from England Lions' seamer Jack Brooks. Fooled by a slower off-cutter, Nash mistimed an on-drive into the hands of Stephen Peters at mid-wicket to go for 11 and make it 130 for 4.

That brought Michael Powell and Darren Stevens together for a vital fifth-wicket stand that put Kent in a position to save the game. Both right-handers are renowned for their counter-attacking style but they soon realised they needed to curb their natural aggression and grind out precious runs.

As a result, Powell got his first half-century for Kent at Canterbury from 119 balls, while Stevens, a Twenty20 star in the Bangladesh Premier League during the close season, limped to the same milestone from the same number of balls and with only seven fours.

Their backs-to-the-wall effort finally ended when Powell, in attempting to work across the line against Lee Daggett, went lbw for 61, scored in a shade more than three hours. Stevens followed soon after for an equally stoical 57 when he nicked an attempted push drive against Andrew Hall into the gloves of wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien.

Brothers-in-law James Tredwell and Geraint Jones also dug in for a further 16 overs before the rain arrived to wash out play for the day. Jones posted an unbeaten 26 from 58 balls with four flashing drives to the boundary, while Tredwell kept him company with a gritty unbeaten 11 scored in just over an hour.