Hampshire toil as Key unlocks door for Kent

Sean Ervine
Sean Ervine
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Hampshire were held up by Rob Key as they endured a frustrating second day of the County Championship clash in Canterbury.

The opener cracked a century as Kent made a fluent reply to Hampshire’s 405 for nine declared.

James Tomlinson managed the only breakthrough for Giles White’s men.

He picked up Key’s opening partner Sam Northeast (eight) with only 37 on the board.

Hampshire could not capitalise on it, though.

Key teamed up with England under-19 starlet Daniel Bell-Drummond to add an unbroken 163 for the second wicket.

The veteran, who won the last of his 15 Test caps in 2005, batted faultlessly to reach his century from 142 balls and with a dozen boundaries.

He showed exactly why he’s the highest ever Championship run-scorer at Canterbury in Kent’s history.

It was Key’s 22nd hundred on the ground – 21 of which have been for the county.

It was also the 34-year-old’s 44th ton for the club.

Contrastingly, rookie Bell-Drummond, in only his 11th championship start, found it tough early on.

Tomlinson seemed to have him on the ropes.

The left-arm paceman’s new ball burst did not land the killer blow, though, as Bell-Drummond reached his half-century.

The teenage prodigy danced down the pitch to on-drive a ball from Danny Briggs to the ropes at long-on having already hit Hampshire’s left-arm spinner for six into the Frank Woolley stand.

By stumps, Bell-Drummond had reached a Championship best 74 as he and Key took Kent to their first batting bonus point of the match.

At the start of the day, Hampshire elected to extend their first innings beyond lunch before finally declaring nine wickets down and some 30 minutes into the afternoon session.

After his stoic, opening day century, Michael Carberry moved effortlessly to 150 from 291 balls.

He fell to a wide one from Calum Haggett to be caught behind for 154 and end a fourth-wicket partnership with Sean Ervine that added 99 inside 29 overs.

Haggett took his tally to three for 100 by trapping Adam Wheater (six) in front.

Adam Rouse then went lbw for nine to bring a quick end to his maiden innings in first-class cricket.

After lunch, Kent skipper James Tredwell had Ervine stumped for 72, Sohail Tanvir (32) caught at slip then Danny Briggs (19) caught at long on before Hampshire declared.

Now Jimmy Adams & Co face a battle turn the game back in their favour on day three.