Thakor and Taylor grind Kent down
Kent 79 for 1 (Denly 35*, Dickson 29*) trail Derbyshire 492 (Thakor 130, Madsen 103, Broom 96, Coles 5-116) by 413 runs
Shiv Thakor and Tom Taylor achieved personal milestones to put Derbyshire in a strong position on a rain-shortened second day of the Division Two match with Kent at Derby.
Thakor's 130 was his first century for Derbyshire and his highest score in the Championship while Taylor made a career-best 80 as the pair added 150 in 31 overs to set a new club record for the seventh wicket against Kent.
Matt Coles was the pick of the Kent bowlers, finishing with 5 for 116 from 34.5 overs and, in reply to Derbyshire's 492, the visitors were 79 for 1 when a downpour wiped out most of the final session.
Kent's hopes of quickly polishing off the Derbyshire innings soon faded as Thakor and Taylor continued to play with freedom on a pitch which offered little encouragement for the bowlers.
Thakor survived a confident appeal for a catch behind down the leg-side off Calum Haggett on 92 but there were few alarms as the pair batted through the first 20 overs of the morning. Taylor again looked the part with the bat, cutting Haggett for four to reach his maiden first-class 50 and take Derbyshire to maximum bonus batting points for the first time this season.
But all the attention was on Thakor, who this season has started to show the quality that marked him out as such an exciting prospect at Leicestershire, and his celebrations when he square cut Haggett for the four to go to three figures showed just how much it meant to him.
It was his second Championship century against Kent and he was only four short of his highest first-class score when he gave James Tredwell the charge and was stumped by Adam Rouse.
"It was nice to get that hundred but more importantly a very good first innings total," Thakor said. "We've got 19 wickets to take now and that's the most important thing. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely feeling but it will mean a lot more if we get those wickets over the next two days and get a win."
Taylor had gone five overs earlier, chipping Adam Ball to cover, but their partnership had swung the game in Derbyshire's favour and left Kent with a lot of batting ahead of them to stay in the game.
Although the pitch had flattened out, the new ball was always going to be a test for the Kent openers and Derbyshire were rewarded for sustained accuracy when Ben Cotton removed Daniel Bell-Drummond in the 10th over. He was squared up by a ball that bounced and left him but it still needed brilliant reactions and agility from Tom Poynton who changed direction to take the catch diving across in front of first slip.
Another wicket then would have left Kent on the ropes but Sean Dickson and Joe Denly showed sound judgement and application to bat through the rest of the afternoon. Dickson pulled a loose ball from legspinner Matt Critchley for six but Derbyshire's bowling was disciplined and the second wicket pair scored only 61 in 24 overs and when the rain arrived shortly after tea, Kent were still 412 runs adrift.
Tredwell said: "They played really well, perhaps we didn't bowl as well as we would have liked, and they started pretty well and made it hard for us to score so the morning session becomes crucial tomorrow. If we can get through that first hour and then start to build a good score then we'll see how the game pans out after that."