Kent 104 for 2 trail Leicestershire 141 (Coles 5-41) by 37 runs
Kent took control against Division Two strugglers Leicestershire and trail by only 37 runs after an action-packed opening day that saw 12 wickets fall.
Having dismissed the visitors for 141, Kent were then boosted unbroken third-wicket partnership between Rob Key and Brendan Nash that had added 68 by the close. Key, Kent's captain, batted almost three hours for his unbeaten 23, while Nash posted an impish, unbeaten 50 from 74 balls.
The hosts made a dreadful start when Sam Northeast, fresh from a brace of second-XI centuries and preferred for this game ahead of on-loan Scott Newman, fended Matthew Hoggard's first-ball lifter to slip. Ben Harmison played attractively for 30 before he too fell to the former England seamer when chopping a short one on to the base of leg stump. Key and Nash dug in thereafter to boss the final session and leave Leicestershire pondering their ill-disciplined batting of earlier in the day.
Though England Lions paceman Matt Coles had bagged his second five-wicket haul of the Championship campaign, to take his season's first-class tally to 33, it was old-stager Charlie Shreck who ran through Leicestershire's top order with a devastating spell of 3 for 1 off 11 balls.
Leicestershire's openers Will Jefferson and Greg Smith both rode their luck in posting 27 for the first wicket. Jefferson survived a huge appeal for leg before against Mark Davies, while Smith was dropped at third slip off Shreck when on 5.
Neither man made the most of their good fortune, however, as Jefferson fell lbw to Shreck when half forward. Jacques du Toit then fell without scoring when a half-hearted cut brushed the edge to give wicketkeeper Geraint Jones the first of five catches behind the stumps.
Smith then flailed across the line against Shreck to also go leg-before, Josh Cobb fished outside off against Coles to be caught behind, as did the leaden-footed Ramnaresh Sarwan after making 17. Preston Mommsen also appeared to have his feet set in cement when he forced off the back foot against Stevens to again gift a catch to Jones and make it 66 for 6 at lunch.
After the break, Ned Eckersley and top-scorer Wayne White all but doubled the visitors' score in adding 56 for the seventh wicket until White also nibbled to the keeper against Coles. No one made double figures thereafter as Kent, in glorious batting conditions, wrapped up the Leicestershire.