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July 9, 2014
Kent 302 and 66 for 1 need a further 238 to beat Leicestershire 217 and 388 (Cobb 137, Taylor 98, Smith 50, Stevens 5-85)
Josh Cobb scored his first century for two years and Rob Taylor hit a career-best 98 as Leicestershire staged a spirited fightback on the third day of the Division Two game against Kent at Grace Road.
The pair shared a sixth wicket stand of 175 runs to help Leicestershire reach 388 in their second innings and set Kent a victory target of 304.
By the close the visitors had reached 66 for 1 off 17 overs, leaving them needing another 238 to win.
Rob Key was the man out trapped lbw by Ben Raine for 16 - but Leicestershire did not help their cause with some erratic bowling which allowed Kent to hit 13 boundaries.
Daniel Bell-Drummond was unbeaten on 26 and Ben Harmison 24 not out at the close. Darren Stevens finished with 5 for 85 in the Leicestershire innings and Mitchell Claydon picked up another three wickets to add to the five he took on the first day.
At the start of the day few would have predicted such an impressive recovery by Leicestershire and, from Kent's point of view, things might have been different had Cobb not been dropped in the second over of the morning.
But Harmison spilled a straightforward catch at gully when Cobb, having added only one run to his overnight score of 17, fenced at a delivery from former Foxes favourite Stevens.
It proved a costly miss for Kent, and the stroke of good fortune Leicestershire's young captain needed to regain the confidence required to convert half-centuries into something more substantial.
Before this innings Cobb had made it past 50 on five occasions but had a top score of only 70. However, the escape clearly energised him and he led by example as the runs flowed.
Kent captain Key tried to try to dislodge him, and in one over from Stevens, employed six slips and did not have a single fielder on the leg side. Cobb's response was to pull two fours to the midwicket boundary.
Only two wickets fell before lunch with Greg Smith caught behind off Claydon for 50 off 100 balls and Niall O'Brien also snapped up by Sam Billings, this time off the bowling of Charles Hartley.
O'Brien contributed 33 to a fifth wicket stand of 71 with Cobb - but it was the sixth wicket partnership between Cobb and Taylor that turned the game on its head.
They were both in imperious form punishing anything loose with powerful drives through the off-side field.
The century stand was brought up in 20 overs with a splendid cover drive by Taylor off Adam Riley that also took him to 50 off 56 balls, with 11 fours.
The next landmark was Cobb's century off 186 balls, with a six and 15 fours. It was the third Championship century of his career and his first since April 2012.
However, with the stand worth 175 in 38 overs, Cobb was caught in a tangle and trapped lbw by Stevens. He batted five hours for his 137 - just 12 runs short of a career best.
Taylor looked set for his maiden Championship century as well but on 98, was bowled by a ball from Stevens that kept low. Taylor hit 16 fours and a six in his 124-ball innings.
Disappointingly for Leicestershire their last three wickets fell for just three runs, denying them a bigger lead - but the game is poised for an exciting final day.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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