Hundred hero Ashwell Prince will remember Lancashire's opening day of their LV= County Championship match against Kent at Canterbury for quite some time.
The experienced South African left-hander, who batted for all but two balls of the day, notched a number of significant milestones in his career as he steered the Red Rose into a position of strength early in the season’s final game with an unbeaten 134 off 280 balls. Lancashire closed on 269-8 from 96 overs.
He passed 15,000 first-class runs in his career early in proceedings after the hosts won the toss and invited Lancashire to bat once play started 15 minutes late due to thick fog.
Prince also passed 1,000 Championship runs for the season on the way to his highest score of the season, which came when he reached 114 after tea. Karl Brown also posted 42.
Lancashire went into this match without their three leading wicket-takers this season. Kyle Hogg and Simon Kerrigan have both been rested and Glen Chapple is out injured.
Kyle Jarvis has been handed his debut after joining the club last month, left-arm spinner Stephen Parry is back from his broken arm and Andrea Agathangelou is also back after being left out at Gloucestershire last week. He made 13 today.
Lancashire did well to navigate early movement to reach 77-2 from 25 overs at lunch after Paul Horton fell for a duck and Luis Reece for 14.
Horton, who edged the first ball of the match short of the slips, edged the second from Mark Davies to Darren Stevens at second slip before Reece had his off stump rocked back by left-arm seamer Adam Ball.
Prince and Brown united to share 71 for the third wicket to take the visitors to 118-2 before Brown edged canny medium pacer Stevens behind to Sam Billings. Brown had been dropped twice in the slips by Stevens on four and 17.
Brown’s wicket was the first of three to fall for 48 in the afternoon session as the Red Rose fell to 166-5.
Luke Procter was caught by Stevens at slip off England one-day off-spinner and Kent captain James Tredwell before Agathangelou was bowled by Ball as he offered no shot. Tom Smith, like Procter, was also caught by Stevens at slip off Tredwell after tea, and Lancashire were 193-6.
Prince reached three figures for the second time this season off 215 balls with 14 fours before Alex Davies edged Mark Davies to Tredwell at first slip with the second new ball, leaving the score at 239-7 in the 85th.
Debutant Matt Hunn also struck in the 90th when he had Oliver Newby caught at extra cover by Ben Harmison, and by that stage Lancashire were 244-8.
Prince, who will resume with Parry tomorrow morning, also passed 3,000 first-class runs for Lancashire. He has not scored more for any other team apart from South Africa.
"It's all square I think, eight down with 260 on the board," said Prince at the close.
"It was doing a bit most of the day, which is encouraging for our bowlers when they come to bowl at some stage tomorrow. Even when I was batting with Alex with in the last over with the first ball, it was still swinging and nibbling a bit. I think that's probably going to carry on for the rest of the game."
On his hundred, Prince said: "As a batsman, you've got to be prepared to score runs in tough and nice situations. Sometimes when it's flat, you get out and don't cash in. Mentally, you've got to prepared to get runs in any situation.
"The stats, I'm more happy about the hundred than the other things. I've passed 50 a lot this season but have only made one hundred in the first-class matches this season. It's been really frustrating for me to pass 50 so many times and only go on once before this. I think that was the most satisfying thing here, to dig in and carry on."
Picture of Ashwell Prince (c) Barry Mitchell