Stevens and Key keep Kent ticking
Kent 274 for 5 trail Nottinghamshire 462 by 188 runs
A dogged half-century from captain Rob Key and a contrasting unbeaten 80, from 83 balls, by Darren Stevens underpinned Kent's shaky second-day reply to Nottinghamshire's 462 in their County Championship encounter at a humid Tunbridge Wells. The hosts had reached 274 for 5 in their first innings by the close and will go into the third day still trailing by 188 runs and requiring a further 39 to avoid following on.
Kent, batting by 12.25pm having mopped up the last two Nottinghamshire wickets for an additional 69 runs, made a dismal start to their pursuit by losing Joe Denly to the first ball but fought hard thereafter on a dry, slow pitch to garner two batting bonus points by stumps. Denly, who scored nought and 149 here in 2008 and nought and 123 in the Royal Spa Town last season, continued the unwanted trend when he fenced at a Darren Pattinson leg-cutter to be caught by David Hussey at second slip.
Key and Geraint Jones (37) added 53 either side of the lunch break before Jones nicked a drive to Hussey off the bowling of Andre Adams. Then, moments before tea, Martin van Jaarsveld (44) edged an attempted cut off Adams to be caught behind by Read. Two overs after the resumption Adams rushed one through Sam Northeast's back-foot defensive push to send him packing for 12 and then, having agonised for over three hours for his 56 from 156 balls, Key fell to make it 176 for 5.
Sweeping against slow left-armer Samit Patel, the bowler's initial shout for leg before was turned down but, once the ball ballooned via pad and bat to Hussey at a wide slip, umpire Jeff Evans upheld a secondary appeal for the catch. Stevens, Kent's leading run-scorer with over 600 championship runs to his name so far this season, steadied the ship with a fluent 62-ball half-century which included 11 fours.
It was the sixth time he has passed 50 in four-day cricket this summer and by the close the former Leicestershire man had taken his boundary count on to 15, having added 98 runs for the sixth wicket with James Tredwell (35 not out).
Nottinghamshire's first innings had lasted a further 21 overs into the second day, allowing skipper Read to complete his second ton of the championship season from 177 balls and with nine fours and a six.