New Zealanders 92 for 1 (How 53*, Marshall 20*) trail Kent 324 for 1 dec (Key 178*, Tredwell 123*) by 232 runs
Jamie How and James Marshall helped themselves to some important time in the middle as New Zealand reached 92 for 1 shortly after tea on a rain-interrupted second day against Kent at Canterbury. The prospects of any play at all had seemed bleak at the start of the day, when torrential rain wiped out the first three hours of play, but eventually the clouds lifted as Kent, sitting pretty after Rob Key's 178 not out, declared on their overnight 324 for 1.
New Zealand's star players are starting to dribble into the country after their stints with the Indian Premier League. Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram arrived this afternoon, ready for this week's second warm-up against Essex at Chelmsford, while Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori and Ross Taylor will all have landed by Thursday. Until then it's all about the second-stringers, in particular the battle for batting places ahead of the first Test at Lord's on May 15.
How, the stand-in captain, opened up with Aaron Redmond, the son of the former Kiwi opener, Rodney, who scored a Test century in his solitary appearance against Pakistan at Auckland in 1972-73. Redmond Jr impressed during New Zealand's one-day curtain-raiser at Arundel on Sunday, scoring 72 in a rain-curtailed encounter with MCC, but he was less effective in this outing.
Redmond should have been dismissed on 11, with the score on 23, when he edged an off-stump lifter from Martin Saggers low to Matthew Walker's right at second slip. But he had added only three runs to his total when he waved his bat limply at Ryan McLaren, and feathered the simplest of chances through to Geraint Jones.
How was the most effective of New Zealand's brittle openers during the recent Test series, and he picked up where he had left off with a comfortable half-century that he completed with a flourish of boundaries in a brief resumption after tea. Kent's bowlers toiled with limited impact on a pitch that their New Zealand counterparts had also found to be unresponsive, as Marshall eased along to 20 not out.