Kent were 287 for five after day two of their LV= Insurance County Championship game with Northamptonshire at Canterbury, trailing by 16 with five first innings wickets remaining.
Hefty partnerships of 91 between Joe Denly and Ben Compton and then exactly 100 between Jack Leaning and Jordan Cox helped Kent close in on Northamptonshire’s first innings score of 303.
Cox was unbeaten on 63 at stumps, while Denly and Leaning also both made 63.
Jack White had the visitors’ best bowling figures with two for 40.
Having dismissed Northamptonshire with the final delivery on day one, for a total they felt was around 150 to 200 below par, Kent were confident going into the second day. However, any hopes that Zak Crawley might find some form after his struggles with England were dashed in the fourth over, when he was out for five, chipping White to Luke Procter at mid-wicket.
Daniel Bell-Drummond had looked comfortable, but when he nicked Jimmy Neesham to Emilio Gay at second slip for 17 Kent were wobbling on 30 for two.
Ben Compton and Denly responded with a stand of 91 for the third wicket. It was a partnership of contrasting styles, with the former England player Denly’s innings initially seeming like it could end at any second, while the possible future-England player Compton’s felt like it might never end at all.
Denly was nearly out first ball, but his shot just eluded mid-wicket, while Compton took 85 minutes to reach double-figures.
Kent were 74 for two at lunch, after which Denly looked significantly happier. He reached 50 by cracking successive Neesham deliveries for four and six and it was Compton who went first, caught at first slip by Neesham for 34 after edging White.
Denly followed soon after, clipping Procter straight to Emilio Gay at midwicket and juggling his bat in frustration as he walked off, leaving Kent on 136 for four.
Leaning and Jordan Cox took the hosts to 181 for four at tea, after which the latter survived a strong run out appeal following a direct hit from Ryan Rickelton. Leaning passed 50 when he pulled Rob Keogh for four to the deep-midwicket boundary but after completing their century stand he fell to the new ball when he was caught behind off Ben Sanderson.
Although the wicket temporarily slowed the scoring rate, Cox reached his half-century by swatting a short-pitched ball from Neesham for a single and Sam Billings played some elegant shots on his way to an unbeaten 24 at stumps, the duo completing the third fifty partnership of the innings in the final over.