Jones century powers Kent
Kent 355 for 6 v Essex
Geraint Jones scored his first Championship century of the season as Kent took full advantage of a friendly pitch after winning the toss to compile a total of 355 for 6 on the opening day of their duel at Chelmsford. The former England wicketkeeper laced his innings with a series of fluent drives while gathering 21 fours en route to a total of 135 from 177 deliveries.
Coming in after Joe Denly was caught behind off Chris Wright in the second over of the morning, Jones quickly asserted his authority. While he found the gaps with ease to race to 36 as the 50 was raised in the 14th over, Robert Key struggled to get the ball off the square at the other end.
The Kent captain laboured through 42 deliveries for 7 before David Masters had him caught in the gully with the total on 53. But Essex had to wait a further 35 overs for their next success as Jones and Martin van Jaarsveld put together a partnership of 137, their progress being helped by bowling that was often lacking in line and length.
Van Jaarsveld did not perform with his usual fluency, but still looked secure until Ryan ten Doeschate had him caught down on the leg side by James Foster. Jones then shared in a half-century partnership with 20-year-old Sam Northeast before he edged a drive in off-spinner Tom Westley's second over to Alistair Cook at slip.
Northeast, however, continued to impress with aggressive strokes either side of the wicket as he moved to his half-century, containing eight fours, from 70 deliveries. He picked up another couple of boundaries on his way to 65 before he fell victim to a brilliant piece of stumping by Foster to provide left-arm spinner, Tim Phillips, with success.
Meanwhile, Danish Kaneria, making his first Essex appearance of the season, did not enjoy the best of luck. The Pakistan legspinner beat the bat on several occasions before claiming his first success in his 23rd over. After having Darren Stevens dropped by a diving Cook at slip, he produced a googly in the same over to bowl James Hockley.
Stevens continued to endure several anxious moments against Kaneria, but battled through to the close to reach 57 that contained seven fours and a six. Essex employed six bowlers in their attempts to make inroads into the innings, each of them picking up a wicket.
Kaneria's solitary success has so far come at a cost of 92 runs from 27 overs.