Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire, Northampton, 4th day August 5, 2013

Gloucs easy to safety with Dent ton

Gloucestershire 358 (Marshal 145) and 227 for 1 (Dent 128*) drew with Northamptonshire 567 for 4 dec. (Sales 255* Coetzer 122)

Chris Dent struck an unbeaten century as Gloucestershire's County Championship match against fellow promotion-chasers Northamptonshire at Wantage Road drifted to a tame draw.

Dent's 128 not out off 211 balls, including 17 fours and one six, eased Gloucestershire to 227 for 1 as they batted through the day with their captain Michael Klinger contributing 78 from 181 deliveries.

As a result, the visitors go up to third in the Division Two table, two points clear of Essex having played a game more. But with second-placed Northants coming out of this match with three more bonus points than their opponents the gap between them is now up to 27 points.

Gloucestershire began the day on 31 without loss, 178 runs behind their opponents, with Klinger resuming on 21 and Dent, who went for a four-ball duck in his side's first innings, on 10. But, for the second day in a row, the start of proceedings was delayed - on this occasion due to a wet outfield caused by overnight rain.

Play eventually got under way at 12:15pm after 20 overs had been lost but what went on thereafter was a total anticlimax as Klinger and Dent easily batted through to lunch on a lifeless wicket. Runs continued to come easily in the afternoon with Klinger to first to go past 50 off 112 balls with a boundary through fine leg off the bowling of Steven Crook.

The pair made their fourth opening partnership of 100 plus of the season with Dent also completing his half-century off 102 deliveries by smacking James Middlebrook through square leg for four. Dent, 22, then accelerated to his fourth century in first-class cricket and his second of the season off 159 balls by sweeping a four behind square leg off Cameron White.

But Klinger was to fall on the final ball before tea when he edged his attempted sweep off White went to Andrew Hall at slip to finally break the stand on 190. He became the first wicket to fall since White himself was dismissed at 2:30pm yesterday, but it understandably only drew subdued celebrations from Northants.

With the evening session not bringing any further incident, the two captains shook hands at 4:50pm with Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick unbeaten on 11. Northants come out of this contest with 11 points and Gloucestershire eight and both sides now have five games left to try and secure their place in Division One next season.