Former England opener Rob Key's excellent 134 ensured Lancashire did not have it all their own way during today's second day of their LV= County Championship match against Kent at Canterbury. But the Division Two champions still have the upper hand heading into day three.
Key helped his side recover from 7-3 after four overs of their reply to 284, which also included 134 for Red Rose left-hander Ashwell Prince. It was the 34-year-old’s 51st first-class century, but he was one of the last five wickets to fall for 41 as the hosts were bowled out for 260 just after tea.
Paul Horton and Luis Reece then took the Red Rose to 75-0 from 21 second innings overs, and the visiting lead to 99. Horton will resume unbeaten on 36 tomorrow and Reece on 33.
Lancashire went into this match without their three leading wicket-takers in the Championship in injured captain Glen Chapple and rested duo Kyle Hogg and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan.
But new ball pair Kyle Jarvis on debut and Oliver Newby led the attack well with three wickets apiece alongside left-arm spinner Stephen Parry. Jarvis finished with 3-72 from 15 overs.
Lancashire began the day at 269-8 in their first innings. They lost Prince without addition to his overnight score and Parry for 20. Prince was caught at second slip off Matt Hunn and Parry caught at first slip off Darren Stevens.
Kent made a dreadful start to their reply. Sam Northeast clipped Jarvis’ seventh ball in Lancashire colours to mid-wicket in the third over before Newby struck twice in four balls in the fourth. He uprooted Daniel Bell-Drummond’s off-stump and had West Indian overseas Brendan Nash caught at third slip.
Key and Ben Harmison, brother of Ashes winner Steve, then made Lancashire toil with the highest partnership of the match so far, 158 inside 36 overs for the fourth wicket at a rate of 4.49 runs per over. Key was dropped twice in the slips on 29 off Tom Smith, once by Prince and once by Andrea Agathangelou.
Harmison made 59, but he was trapped lbw by Newby midway through the afternoon to leave the score at 165-4 in the 40th over.
Jarvis then removed Stevens the same way in the 41st over before, with 219 on the board, Agathangelou took a one-handed stunner diving to his right at second slip to help Jarvis get rid of Sam Billings.
Key reached a 116-ball with eleven fours and a straight six off Parry in between the fifth and sixth wickets. Harmison had also lofted Parry for six over long-on in his first over.
But Parry struck in the latter stages of the afternoon session, getting Adam Ball lbw for seven to leave the score at 236-7.
Lancashire then struck twice in the first three overs after tea, including the key wicket of Key. First James Tredwell was bowled by Smith and then Key was caught at deep cover by Jarvis off Parry, leaving the score at 245-9.
And Parry picked up his third when he rocked back Hunn’s middle stump shortly afterwards to gain a slender first-innings lead, which was built upon with authority by in-form duo Horton and Reece.
They went about their sixth partnership above 50 in 10 innings together this season in commanding fashion, and they very rarely looked troubled.
Picture - Kyle Jarvis takes his first wicket for Lancashire (c) Barry Mitchell