Kent on course for victory over Lancashire

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Vitality County Championship, Division One, Emirates Old Trafford (day three)

Lancashire 92 & 332: Bell 65, Hurst 58, Balderson 48; Agar 3-65, Parkinson 3-70

Kent 261 & 71-1: Bell-Drummond 39*, Compton 14*

Kent (4 pts) require 93 runs with 9 wickets remaining to beat Lancashire (3 pts)

Kent are on the verge of their first Championship win of the season despite being held up on day three by Lancashire.

They ended on 71-1, requiring a further 93 on the final day to seal victory.

Having resumed on 119-4 in their second innings, battling half-centuries from George Bell (65) and Matty Hurst (58) saw the home side to 332 before they were dismissed shortly after tea.

Despite losing England opener Zak Crawley for one in the second over, Ben Compton (14) and Daniel Bell-Drummond (39) put on an unbeaten 66 to see Kent through to stumps.

The second day had seen 17 wickets fall and it did not take long for the first to happen as New Zealand batter Tom Bruce had his off-stump uprooted by Wes Agar without adding to his overnight score.

But rather than crumble as they had done in being bowled out for 92 in their first innings, Lancashire showed plenty of resistance.

Bell added 75 with George Balderson (46) before some brilliant captaincy from Daniel Bell-Drummond saw the back of the latter.

The Kent skipper put himself in at short gully as an extra close fielder and took a sharp low catch off Jack Leaning’s bowling.

Bell had reached his 50 off 114 balls while putting on 78 with Hurst but he was undone by the new ball, nicking behind after Agar had found a touch of extra bounce.

Young wicketkeeper Hurst, 20, reached his third first-class 50 off 134 balls as he really dug in and responded to the situation.

He had put on 54 with Tom Hartley for the eighth wicket, but when he edged to slip off former Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, the hosts lost their last three wickets for three runs.

Chasing 164, Crawley was lbw to Balderson in the second over to give Lancashire a glimmer of hope.

But despite some turn for both Australia spinner Nathan Lyon and England left-armer Hartley and a number of vociferous appeals, they could not find a way past Bell-Drummond and the obdurate Compton.

Barring a dramatic collapse, it should only be a matter of time for Kent to wrap things up on the final day.

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