Kent 338 for 2 (Dickson 146*, Crawley 72, Bell-Drummond 68*) v Warwickshire
Sean Dickson put Warwickshire's patched-up side to the sword with a season's best 146 not out as Kent cantered to 338 for 2 on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match in Canterbury. In the best batting conditions of the summer, Dickson featured in two century stands for the sixth-placed hosts that ensured Warwickshire, in seventh, had plenty of leather chasing to do during a one-sided opening day of 96 overs.
Batting first after winning the toss, Zak Crawley and Dickson made hay with their season's best opening stand of 132 against a makeshift Bears' attack shorn of six first-choice bowlers through injury or unavailability.
With such a lengthy list of absentees, Warwickshire named two loan signings in Ben Mike, brought in from Leicestershire, and Toby Lester, as well as James Wainman, the former Yorkshire left-arm seamer, recently signed on a short-term deal as a free agent.
Sensing their opportunity, Dickson and Crawley latched onto anything loose to post 50 at a run-a-minute with Crawley plundering five boundaries to Dickson's brace. Some brief cloud cover allowed Warwickshire to re-group and send down four maidens through Wainman and Will Rhodes, but the return of blue skies rekindled Kent's dominance with the bat as Crawley stroked his ninth boundary through extra cover to move to a 68-ball 50 and take Kent into lunch on 116 without loss.
After the resumption Dickson posted his second half-century of the summer from 99 balls and with five fours as he and Crawley went past 128, their previous best opening stand of the season scored against Surrey at Beckenham in May.
But soon after notching his 700th first-class run of the season Crawley fell leg before for 72 after missing an attempted flick through midwicket to a Rhodes inducker. Their stand of 132 was Kent's best first-wicket partnership on the ground in Championship cricket since David Fulton and Joe Denly hit 123 against Middlesex in 2006.
Dickson and Denly, now in his second stint with Kent, both ploughed on adding 54 inside 16 overs before Denly, tied down on 22 after an hour at the crease, needlessly flung the bat at a wide one from Matt Lamb to be caught at slip.
Kent secured a first batting bonus shortly before tea, then Dickson reached his second century of the summer early in the final session from 212 balls with 10 fours. With a second batting point under their belts, Dickson and Daniel Bell-Drummond tried to accelerate, but Jeetan Patel, the Warwickshire offspinner and skipper, sent down 21 frugal overs either side of tea to keep the run-rate in check.
Even so, Kent's third-wicket partners notched a century stand in 34 overs with Bell-Drummond reaching his half-century from 122 balls that also raised Kent's 300.
Patel finally rested, allowing Lester and Wainman to share the second new ball, but Warwickshire's wicketless run increased to 43 overs as Kent reached stumps without further alarm with Bell-Drummond on 68 not out.