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Mark Pennell at Tunbridge Wells
June 8, 2012
Hampshire 229 for 6 (Dawson 111*) v Kent
There were reasons to be cheerful at Tunbridge Wells on Friday afternoon, including a century for Hampshire's opening batsman Liam Dawson.
After a 27 and-a-half hour delay between Mark Davies deliveries for inclement weather, the players finally got back onto the park for an entertaining final session that lasted 44 overs. Having started his over just after 12.30pm on Thursday, Davies, the former Durham seamer, lolloped in from the Pavilion End just after 4pm to complete the 34th over of the Hampshire innings with the visitors on 90 for 3 in their first innings.
In the interim, there had been heavy overnight rain, gales had swept the ground and the umpires Richard Illingworth and the aptly named Steve Gale, had held four pitch inspections. The officials finally declared the bowlers' run-ups fit for play, but Kent were still made to wait for their first breakthrough in almost two days.
Hampshire's fourth-wicket pair Simon Katich and Dawson appeared in little or no trouble in surviving on a pitch that had sweated under covers for the best part of a day and both men deserved their 50s.
Katich swept to his first, from 99 balls and with five fours. Dawson joined him with a flurry, pulling a four and a six in the first over of spin from James Tredwell, he posted his half- century from 117 balls with a six, and six fours.
Tredwell soon regained his composure to snare Katich leg before when the Aussie left-hander padded up to an arm ball; then Sean Ervine's push drove a Matt Coles offcutter onto leg stump via a thin inside edge.
Coles, who continues to catch the eye with aggressive bursts of distinctly sharp seam bowling, then pinned Michael Bates with a bumper that slipped through the grille and snapped a front tooth in half.
Bates changed his helmet and bravely re-took his guard but, with his score on 30, he followed one from Charlie Shreck that shaped away off the pitch and - ala pre-match fielding drills - steered it tamely to Tredwell at second slip.
With the sun out for the first time in three days, Dawson took his chance to shine by reaching his century with a crisp, cover-driven four off Tredwell that clattered into the boundary boards. He reached three figures from 204 balls and was still there on 111 when play ended for the day at 6.30pm.
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