Durham 575 Kent 169-2: Durham keen as Mustard

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The Independent Online

The days of Durham as whipping boys are long gone, as Kent have been learning over the past two days. First they were hammered into the St Lawrence turf over four sessions with bat, then they lost their top batsmen as they began the daunting task of chipping away at a mountainous Durham first-innings score - the third highest in the North-east county's history.

By the close Kent had lost two captains - Robert Key, the present incumbent, and David Fulton, his predecessor - as they stumbled towards the 426 runs they need to avoid following on.

To make matters worse Kent lost Martin van Jaarsfeld, a key component in their reply, late in the day with cramp in his left hamstring, just when he was beginning to come to terms with the failing light and the thrusting Durham attack.

Key was dismissed when pushing forward at a good ball from Neil Killeen which seemed to kick off the seam and leave the batsman. Fulton was far better set than Key when he stepped back to one which left him late, but at least he had begun this season as he did last - with a half-century. In each case the batsmen presented Phil Mustard with regulation catches to cap a great day for the wicketkeeper.

Earlier, Mustard scored his maiden first-class century as he and his sixth-wicket partner, Gordon Muchall, provided further proof that Durham will be no pushover this season. They picked up where they had left off the previous evening, taking their stand to a record 249 for the county. On the way Muchall duly turned his overnight 193 into a maiden double hundred. Muchall's six-and-a-half-hour innings ended with a tired shot to Key at cover.

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