Stevens haul gives Kent the edge
Kent 53 for 2 v Lancashire 266
Kent's unlikely allrounder Darren Stevens grabbed three wickets in 13 balls on a dramatic opening day in Canterbury as the hosts closed on 53 for 2 in reply to Lancashire's 266 all out.
Military medium at best, right-armed Stevens sent down three successive wicket maidens just before lunch to derail a promising start to the visitors' first innings. Seemingly set fair at 55 without loss, Lancashire then lost four wickets for one run in the space of 31 balls as Kent's seamers took advantage of some late morning cloud cover.
Lancashire re-grouped during the afternoon with contrasting half-centuries from Steven Croft (65) and Sajid Mahmood (60), but Stevens' haul of 3 for 33, coupled with two wickets apiece for Simon Cook, Matt Coles and Amjad Khan ensured Kent were batting by 5pm.
Having been offered a life at second when on nought, Kent captain Rob Key reached eight from 29 balls when his leaden-footed waft flew to Tom Smith at second slip.
Then, just before stumps, Sam Northeast's painful season continued when he walked across his stumps against Glenn Chapple to go lbw for a fourth-ball duck leaving Kent to go into the second day trailing by 213.
Having won the toss in bright conditions Lancashire appeared in little trouble as openers Paul Horton and Smith posted 50 in 18 overs. Having elected to drop their overseas wrist spinner Malinga Bandara in favour of an extra pace bowler, Kent were struggling for an opening until occasional seamer Stevens came up trumps.
He had Smith (32) caught off an ill-judged cut at deep backward point and Horton (16) taken behind the wicket off an edged defensive push. Former West Indies Test captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul also feathered a Stevens leg-cutter to the keeper to go for a fourth-ball duck and the opening session turned on its head when Amjad Khan had Mark Chilton (0) caught in the cordon just before lunch.
Croft and Gareth Cross (30) added 59 for the second wicket until Kent went on the rampage again. Cross played across the line to fall lbw to Cook, Luke Sutton (13) miscued a pull shot to mid-wicket then Chapple nicked one from James Tredwell to slip to make it 157 for 7.
Lancashire were in real danger of missing out on batting bonus points until Croft, with a 71-ball half-century, and Mahmood's more belligerent 44-ball effort, brought the visitors back into contention.
Mahmood clattered three successive boundaries off Tredwell and went on to take three sixes off the England off-spinner as he and Croft added 62 for the eighth wicket.
Cook returned to have Croft caught at cover from an airy drive then, soon after tea, Mahmood fenced to slip and last man Gary Keedy quickly followed suit.