Kent 211 for 8 (Northeast 97*, McCarthy 4-52) trail Durham 448 (Collingwood 120, Rushworth 57, Stevens 5-78) by 237 runs
Rookie pace bowler Barry McCarthy bagged season's best figures of 4 for 52 to blow away Kent's top order and move Durham into the box seat at the midpoint of their Specsavers County Championship match in Canterbury.
Responding to Durham's 448 all out - their best total of the four-day campaign to date - promotion-chasing Kent slid to 123 for 8 only to be salvaged by Sam Northeast's unbeaten 97 that took his side in at stumps on 211 for eight after 53 overs.
The Kent captain combined with Yasir Shah to add an unbroken 88 through to the close, moving past Kent's previous ninth-wicket record stand of 66 set by Min Patel and Mark Ealham at Tunbridge Wells in 2000 in the process. Yet the hosts still require another 88 runs on day three to be spared following on for the first time this season.
Having batted for more than four sessions, Durham set about taking six Kent wickets during a 90-minute purple patch that sent the hosts in reeling at tea on 72 for 6. All six wickets fell to bowling from the Nackington Road end and it was Ireland seamer McCarthy who made the early inroads.
Starting his side's first-innings response at 2.34pm, Kent's opening bat Sean Dickson soon departed lbw for 0, plumb in front when working across the line against McCarthy, then No. 3 Joe Denly under-edged an attempted pull through to the keeper.
England Lions batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond nicked into the cordon to give McCarthy 3 for 15 in his opening burst, after which the bustling Rushworth took over down the Nackington Road slope where he continued to give Kent the hurry-up. Joe Weatherley had his middle stump plucked out by a full delivery, Will Gidman nicked to third slip, then Adam Rouse followed in identical fashion, to another Ryan Pringle catch.
Kent's demise continued after tea when Darren Stevens aimed to late cut against Gavin Main only to pick out Graham Clark at backward point, then Matt Coles steered one to slip to gift Rushworth a fourth wicket. But Northeast and Yasir, on his Championship debut, then combined to bat out the 23 remaining overs of day two.
Durham, having resumed on their overnight score of 318 for 5 at the start of the day, battled hard to add a further 130 runs to their total and bank four batting bonus points.
After cracking a brace of boundaries in the day's first over from Coles, Paul Collingwood posted his 34th first-class century from 160 balls. In a moment of levity, the 41-year-old made as if to walk down the pitch on a zimmer frame to shake hands with his sixth-wicket partner Stuart Poynter.
Kent snatched a second bowling point in the 110th over when Stevens pegged back Poynter's off stump to break a stand worth 67 then, four deliveries later, Matthew Potts suffered a fourth-ball duck on county debut when he followed a Stevens away-swinger to nick to the keeper. Stevens then picked up his fifth five-wicket return of the season by ending fellow 41-year-old Collingwood's 208-ball stay for 120. The Durham skipper, Stevens' junior by only 26 days, followed an outswinger and edged to Coles at slip.
Stevens rested after a morning stint of 11-3-23-3, enabling Durham to add a vital 73 runs inside 20 overs either side of lunch through ninth-wicket pairing Rushworth and McCarthy. McCarthy's useful stay ended when Yasir plucked out his off stump to collect a first wicket in Championship cricket. Soon after, Rushworth's 67-ball cameo of 57 ended when Bell-Drummond took a diving catch in the deep.
Coles finished with 3 for 118, but Kent were again indebted to veteran Stevens, who finished with 5 for 78. However, Kent missed out on maximum bowling points for the first time this season.