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Dickson switches attention to batsmen as Kent thrive

Sean Dickson bats for Kent Getty Images

Kent 297 for 4 (Dickson 117) vs Gloucestershire
Scorecard

Sean Dickson became the first Kent player to register a hundred in the Specsavers County Championship this season as Gloucestershire's bowlers were made to toil at the Brightside Ground.

Translating his impressive one-day form into runs in the red-ball format, the South African top-scored with 117 to help the Second Division promotion contenders to close on 297 for 4 at the end of day one.

Kent are riding high in Division Two largely thanks to the wickets of Matt Henry but this time it was the chance fo their batting to make amn impact.

Gloucestershire stuck to their task in the field on a hot day and fought back in the final session, taking three wickets to partially redress the balance. Craig Miles claimed 2-61 but, in the continued absence of front-line pace-men David Payne and Liam Norwell, lacked the incisive support needed to trouble a strong Kent batting line-up.

Clearly, it was a day for batting and Joe Denly did not hesitate to make first use of a placid Bristol pitch, watching from the dressing room balcony as Dickson and Daniel Bell-Drummond staged an opening stand of 124 in 46.2 overs.

Becalmed in the face of a probing new-ball spell from Matt Taylor, Bell-Drummond mustered just two scoring shots in the first hour as the hosts kept a lid on things.

But Dickson played with rather more aggression, raising a chance-less half century from 108 balls to ensure the scoreboard kept ticking over. Bell-Drummond eventually summoned fluency and was one run short of his first fifty of the summer when he lost concentration end edged a Miles length ball to Chris Dent at second slip.

There was no stopping the resolute Dickson, who pulled and drove to good effect to eclipse the 69 not out made by Heino Kuhn, Kent's previous highest score in the Championship this summer.

He dominated a partnership of 92 for the second wicket with fellow South African Kuhn and guided a Benny Howell delivery through third man to realise three figures via his 11th boundary in the 66th over.

Increasingly assertive, Dickson was looking to accelerate when he miss-judged a Miles in-swinger and played on, having faced 214 balls and struck 13 fours and a six.

Certainly, Gloucestershire's hard-pressed bowlers were glad to see the back of him and, energised by that success, they made further in-roads soon afterwards, Kuhn attempting to hit Graeme van Buuren over mid-on and offering a catch to James Bracey for 33.

Their progress checked at 220 for 3, Kent's innings was in need of a re-boot when Denly and Zak Crawley joined forces in the 72nd over. Crawley succumbed to the new ball, edging Ryan Higgins to second slip for 30, but Denly and Darren Stevens reached the close without further mishap.