Azharullah leads Kent rout before visitors' fightback

Northamptonshire 193 for 7 (Keogh 68, Coles 4-62) lead Kent 140 (Azharullah 5-31, Kleinveldt 5-41) by 53 runs

The summer solstice must have seemed even longer to Kent than normal, as they put themselves under pressure in their against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road as Rory Kleinveldt and Azharullah both took five-wicket hauls to bowl them out for just 140.

Having been dismissed so cheaply on what has been one of the country's flattest wickets, that they fought back late in the day to limit Northamptonshire to 193 for 7 shows just how dire their situation was in mid-afternoon.

The pleasant Sunday conditions were in contrast to the mizzle that ruined Saturday's opening day and in fairness to the visitors, the green tinge to the pitch suggested something as spicy as the curry on the nearby Wellingborough Road. Despite the early loss of both openers, Kent seemed well placed at 93 for 2 with Rob Key and Sam Northeast playing shots all around the square. That was with ten minutes left in the session when the largely self-inflicted carnage took place.

Previously the model of consistency this season, Northeast was unsure whether to leave or play at Kleinveldt outside the off stump and ending up edging to wicketkeeper Adam Rossington for 36. Darren Stevens was lbw to the very next ball and three further deliveries later, Key was bowled for 35, playing all around one from Azharullah. Tredwell's dismissal - bowled Azharullah for 0 - on the stroke of lunch, meant that four wickets had fallen in a remarkable 19-ball spell and Kent were 97 for 6.

Forty-four balls after lunch, Kent were all out and although Azharullah and Kleinveldt bowled well to produce the home side's best and second-best bowling figures of the season, the movement was hardly excessive.

Northamptonshire's players showed on occasions that with application, batting was far from impossible and the likelihood is that the surface will improve further over the next two days. The chief example of that was provided by 23 year-old Rob Keogh. Predominantly a leg side player, he has the cool temperament to play the long innings as evidenced by his 163 not out to save the game at Derbyshire this season and 221 against Hampshire two years ago.

Keogh is closing in on 700 runs and has a chance of becoming the first Northamptonshire player to reach 1000 first-class runs in a season since Stephen Peters in 2010. Alex Wakely's 50 in support, helped Keogh run up 70 for the third wicket and while all batsmen played and missed during the day, it was a surprise when Keogh edged Matt Coles to Adam Ball at third slip for 68, with eight overs remaining in the day.

That was the first of three wickets in successive overs for Coles who finished with figures of 4 for 62 and who now has 42 Championship wickets in his first season back with his original county, after a brief spell at Hampshire. To add to Northants' late woe, Cobb departed in Mitchell Claydon's last over of the day to leave the home side 53 in front with three first-innings wickets left. This seesaw day leaves the remaining two days impossible to predict.

Northants 4th innings Partnerships

1st32RI NewtonBM Duckett
2nd0AG WakelyBM Duckett
3rd14AG WakelyRI Keogh