Kent on verge of Division Two title
Kent 205 for 4 (Jones 89, van Jaarsveld 63*) lead Leicestershire 148 (Dippenaar 54, Cook 5-44, Khan 4-46) by 57 runs
Kent dominated with bat and ball on day two at a cloudy St Lawrence to move within a point of securing the County Championship Division 2 title. Having lost the opening day to rain, Kent secured maximum bowling bonus points by skittling Leicestershire out for 148 in two sessions having won the toss and elected to field. Then, in the 39-over final session, the champions elect cantered along at 5.25 an over to reach 205 for 4 at stumps for their first batting bonus point and an overall lead of 57.
After mopping up 10 wickets inside four hours the hosts were batting by 3.26pm but they soon lost captain Rob Key (12) to a sliced drive to cover and then alarm bells sounded when Sam Northeast (21) chopped on against Wayne White. But any last-gasp title nerves were settled when vice-captain Martin van Jaarsveld (63*) teamed up with Geraint Jones to add 78 in 11 overs for the third wicket.
Jones clattered a 39-ball 50 with 11 fours and van Jaarsveld a slightly more sedate half-century from 46 balls as Leicestershire were put to the sword. Seamer James Benning leaked 55 runs from only five overs during the stand as Kent raced into the lead within 26 overs.
The fun ended when Jones nicked an attempted run to counterpart Paul Nixon to fall 11 short of his sixth century of the season, but van Jaarsveld saw it through to the close and will go into day three looking for his seventh ton of the campaign.
"With the overhead conditions this morning we managed to get the ball in the right areas but we also sensed that Leicestershire's batters weren't looking to take our bowlers on," van Jaarsveld said. "They'd only reached 52 at lunch, had lost four wickets and were going nowhere so we knew if we got a couple of quick poles (wickets) after that then they'd be in big trouble.
"Our bowlers bowled well after lunch and we went out to bat having told ourselves that if they offered us anything we would try and put it away. Jonesie played beautifully for his 89 and took the game away from them really quickly and I just fed off the back of him hitting those boundaries. He hit plenty of boundaries and that allowed me to play with all the freedom.
"We only need a point to win the title now, we feel we've really toiled and that we deserve the title, massively so, it'll be happy days when we do so."
Having inserted the visitors, Kent soon went on the attack in search of their ninth win of the summer. Amjad Khan removed both openers on his way to 4 for 46, but it was medium-pacer Simon Cook who proved the biggest threat in taking 5 for 44, his third fifth-wicket haul of the summer in which the ex-Middlesex right-armer has taken 33 wickets.
Kent's slip and keeper cordon were also on top of their games in accounting for six of the wickets to fall, an impressive return on a cold and blustery day.