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Key and Denly dash in vain

Kent 160 for 1 (Denly 80, Key 76*) drew with Surrey 307 for 9 dec (Ramprakash 127, Afzaal 67, Spriegel 42*, Arafat 3-66)
Scorecard

Kent moved up to third in the Championship table after taking seven points from a rain-ruined draw against Surrey at Canterbury. The visitors are still languishing at the bottom, 19 points adrift of safety with two games remaining, after claiming the same reward from the limited play possible.

The final session was enlivened by the attacking strokeplay of Robert Key and Joe Denly as they added 159 in 21 overs for the first wicket in an attempt to gain another point in the 34 overs available. So tight is the title race that even the smallest gains could be crucial. Surrey, too, were hunting for an extra point and set attacking fields which allowed runs to flow, but in the end it all came to nothing as bad light closed in with 12 overs remaining.

Denly and Key gave a demonstration of their successful one-day opening partnership, something they haven't been able to replicate in four-day cricket, as they tore into Surrey's attack. Only Jade Dernbach went at less than six an over as the pair cracked 23 fours along with three sixes for Denly, who was eventually caught behind off Alex Tudor.

After neither side wanted to set up a final-day run chase it was all about how many bonus points could be bagged. In passing 300, Surrey managed three, as did Kent for claiming nine wickets before Mark Ramprakash declared.

Surrey squeezed their way over 300, with Usman Afzaal hitting 67 and Matthew Spriegel an unbeaten 42, after Amjad Khan threatened to clean up the tail with a double-wicket maiden. When Spreigel drove Khan for four Surrey edged ahead in the points race, but Ryan McLaren bowled Saqlain Mushtaq to even the scores again.

Surrey are still odds on for relegation, but can at least prepare to have the services of Shoaib Akhtar for their final two Championship matches after he completed his visa paperwork.