Kent v Warwickshire, Canterbury, 2nd day May 5, 2010

Kent on top despite Clarke's five

Kent 374 for 9 v Warwickshire 250

Rikki Clark returned his first ever five-wicket haul in first-class cricket, but visitors Warwickshire still struggled to stay in contention in the County Championship Division One clash at Canterbury.

Despite former England all-rounder Clarke's eye-catching 5 for 60, Kent remained in command for much of the second day to reach 374 for 9 at stumps for an overall lead of 124 at the mid-point of the encounter.

On an easing pitch and in warmer conditions the entire Kent top order made starts, but no-one went on to play a match defining innings. The closest anyone came was England's deposed one-day opener Joe Denly, who batted admirably for almost four hours only to miss out on his maiden century of the summer by five runs.

Resuming on their overnight score of 43 for 1, Kent made decent progress in the first session through a second-wicket stand of 89 in 23 overs between Denly and 19-year-old nightwatchman Matt Coles.

The Maidstone-born all-rounder contributed a career-best 41 before becoming Clarke's opening victim - strangled from a leg-side glance off Clarke's loosener he was easily caught by Tim Ambrose. Clarke's second wicket also owed as much to good fortune as bowling strategy.

With his score on 10, Geraint Jones aimed to uppercut a wide one only to pick out Chris Woakes at third man and make it 168 for 3 at lunch. Denly and Martin van Jaarsveld (47) added 68 for the fourth wicket after the break before Denly, having hit 11 fours, was superbly caught at slip by Clarke.

Diving full length to his right he claimed a low, one-handed chance off Darren Maddy's second ball of the day and ended Denly's 192-ball stay. Van Jaarsveld fell 10 overs later and three short of his 50. He played outside a turning delivery from Imran Tahir that grazed the inside edge and went to Jonathan Trott at short leg via the pad.

Kent looked set for for a big lead as Darren Stevens and Sam Northeast (40) dug in after tea with a sixth-wicket partnership of 85 in 26 overs until Clarke returned at the Pavilion End to again intervene.

His leg-cutter left right-handed Northeast and feathered the outside edge through to Ambrose. The tall all-rounder, who won two England Test caps on the 2003/04 tour of Bangladesh, completed his day's work by trapping James Hockley (20) and Simon Cook leg before in the final throws, while Tahir sent Amjad Khan packing in similar fashion for a third-ball duck.