Northamptonshire fell to defeat in the final hour of the opening fixture of 2023.

Kent, driven mainly by a century from opener Ben Compton, enjoyed the best batting conditions of the match in the final afternoon to complete the chase 3 down.

Day 4 began with all results still on the table as Berg and Keogh resumed their important partnership. Berg soon went to his thirty-first first-class half century and the partnership moved to 100 before Hogan found extravagant movement through the air to beat his defences. Rob Keogh upped the ante but lost White and Tremain at the other end, Northamptonshire setting Kent 227 to win with Keogh left undefeated 116*.

Chris Tremain got Northamptonshire off to the perfect start, sending Crawley’s off stump cartwheeling in just the second over. Bell-Drummond looked particularly fortunate to survive an LBW shout on naught and made quick use of his reprieve with a flurry of boundaries. He’d moved to a run a ball 32 before Berg drew an inside edge onto his leg stump.

Tremain again broke through early in the afternoon session when he disturbed Denly’s woodwork, but that would be Northamptonshire’s last joy of the day.

Compton and Leaning looked composed as they chipped away at the target, taking advantage of the most batter-friendly overhead and underfoot conditions of the four days. Compton moved to his century off 190 balls as Kent closed in on the target, eventually securing victory with an hour remaining in the day.

Northamptonshire now return to The County Ground to face Middlesex on Thursday.