Lancashire's bowlers may have been made to toil underneath the pleasant spring sunshine at Beckenham this morning but they bounced back well during the afternoon to peg Kent back.
The Red Rose county were frustrated by an opening partnership of 136 between former England duo Robert Key and Joe Denly, who made an entertaining century, until left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan broke through just before lunch.
And that pushed the door firmly ajar for stand-in captain Steven Croft and his men, who took four more wickets during the second session of the day.
Kerrigan added another four balls after lunch before opening bowler Sajid Mahmood bagged a pair of wickets and Steven Cheetham chipped in with one as the hosts finished their first innings on 254-5 from 60 overs.
Both sides are due to bat for 90 overs, with Kent batting 60 today and Lancashire 30. Kent are expected to bat for 30 tomorrow morning, leaving Lancashire 60 to chase a target during the afternoon and evening sessions.
The Red Rose named 12 players, not including captain Glen Chapple, Stephen Parry and Andrea Agathangelou, who will be with the squad tomorrow. Kent named 13.
Lancashire responded with 84-3 from 30 overs with Croft unbeaten on 20 and Tom Smith on four at close.
Mahmood, who recovered well to finish with 2-65: “The lads here have really enjoyed being outside again.
“I found it a little bit difficult. I was out of rhythm, but it was good to bowl outside and in a game scenario. The more I bowled, the more confident I got. I definitely got into it more towards the end.
“I told Crofty that I needed to keep bowling, but I know there are other guys in the side who need that too.”
Kerrigan broke through when he had Key well caught in the covers by Karl Brown for 56 before he had Sam Northeast caught at slip by Paul Horton four balls into the afternoon session.
And Mahmood got in on the wicket-taking act when he removed Denly and Geraint Jones in successive overs to leave the score at 232-4 in the 51st.
Denly, caught by Cheetham at mid-on, hit 20 boundaries in a fluent 141-ball 115 before Jones was caught at square-leg by Kerrigan.
Martin van Jaarsveld was in combative mood, hitting Kerrigan for a straight four and a straight six in one particular over, finding the fence four more times in his 82-ball knock of 43.
That was ended in the last over before tea – and the last over of the Kent innings - when Cheetham held a sharp return chance.
There was good news for fast bowler Oliver Newby, who got through eleven overs unscathed on his return to action following a cruciate knee ligament injury last April.
Openers Horton and Brown made a circumspect start to the visiting side’s reply, scoring only 15 off the first seven overs, but Brown became the dominant partner as he quickly moved the score to 39-0 in the 14th over.
However, that was when Horton edged Robbie Joseph behind to Jones for eight. Luke Procter followed shortly afterwards for a duck, bowled by Simon Cook.
Brown hit five fours in his composed 78-ball innings of 35, but he went shortly before close to the medium pace of Darren Stevens.
Stevens, who has represented England Lions over the last 12 months, struck in his opening over, forcing the right-hander to edge behind to Jones, leaving the score at 63-3 in the 25th over.
Photo: (c) Simon Pendrigh