Northants 256-4 v Kent
Kent bowlers Matt Hunn, Matt Coles and Yasir Shah picked up a wicket apiece on the third morning as Northamptonshire went in at lunch on 256 for four after 82 overs in Beckenham.
Responding to Kent’s record 701 for seven declared and resuming on their overnight score of 180 for one, Northamptonshire suffered a big blow to their aspirations with the loss of Ben Duckett to only the sixth ball of the day. The diminutive left-hander, who hit a sublime double century here last season, clubbed Matt Coles’ fourth ball of the day through mid-on to move on to 105 but, in aiming an expansive drive two deliveries later, Duckett edged behind to Sam Billings who was standing in for Adam Rouse behind the timbers.
Coles gave way at the Beckenham End after a spirited seven-over spell of one for 26 to be replaced by Matt Hunn, who also enjoyed success in his first over of the day. Alex Wakely, the Northamptonshire skipper, misjudged the line of Hunn’s fourth delivery and shouldered arms to one that pegged back off stump to make it 219 for two.
At the Worsley Bridge Road End, Pakistan wrist-spinner Yasir Shah whirled away for 85 minutes against a watchful visiting top order. In his wicketless, 11-over stint, Shah got the occasional delivery to turn, while one to left-hander Max Holden spat alarmingly from the footholds only to balloon to safety.
Shah switched ends to pick up his first wicket just before lunch after darting a googly through the back-foot defensive shot of Rob Keogh, who departed with 19 to his name.