County Championship round-up: Hales enhances his glowing reputation as leaders march on

Alex Hales offered more evidence of why the First Division leaders Nottinghamshire regard him as an outstanding prospect with a brilliant 95 at the start of festival week at Tunbridge Wells. The tall 21-year-old, who hit a maiden Championship century against Hampshire last month, looked on course to complete his second before lunch, reaching 50 off only 55 balls with 11 fours after a new combination at the top of the Nottinghamshire innings had put on 43 in less than 10 overs, before Samit Patel was caught behind. Patel had been preferred to Neil Edwards in the Nottinghamshire line-up.

In front of a crowd of 4,000, Hales had an escape on 53 when Joe Denly missed a chance at mid-on off England spinner James Tredwell, the fielder seeming to lose the ball in the sun. Undaunted, he was 84 at lunch, having added a couple of massive sixes to his boundary tally, but the hundred eluded him when he provided leg-spinner Malinga Bandara with his first Kent wicket, a return catch off a leading edge, half an hour into the afternoon session.

Bandara made David Hussey his second victim. The Australian, who has been Nottinghamshire's most successful overseas player of recent years, had made 52 at the start of his latest stint when he was bowled attempting a sweep. Otherwise, the afternoon was a story of Kent fighting back as the combination of seamer Simon Cook and wicketkeeper Geraint Jones accounted for Mark Wagh and Steven Mullaney, before Jones took his fourth catch of the innings to remove Ally Brown. Chris Read restored Nottinghamshire's momentum with the third half-century of the innings.

Hampshire's Twenty20 plans continue to be thwarted at almost every turn. After Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi's decision to return to Test cricket, Herath Rangana has been recalled by Sri Lanka and now Australian fast bowler Brett Lee has been ruled out because of the elbow injury he suffered in the warm-up to the World Twenty20.

On the field, Danish Kaneria's appeal against an ECB decision to suspend his registration allowed the Pakistan leg-spinner to take his place in the Essex side. Kaneria and team-mate Mervyn Westfield are on police bail pending investigations into alleged match- rigging. Kaneria broke a 75-run stand for the second wicket when he bowled Michael Lumb and later added the wicket of Sean Ervine. Michael Carberry hit nine fours but was out to a loose stroke after reaching 50. Neil McKenzie also made a half-century, gaining help from Dominic Cork as Hampshire recovered from 190 for 6.

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