Fulton capitalises on the long bad Friday

Middlesex 407 and 165 Kent 477 and 96-2 Kent win by 8 wkts
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The Independent Online

Middlesex's unbeaten Championship run ended with a dull thud at 2.05pm precisely when Robert Key turned a Paul Weekes delivery to square leg for the single that earned Kent maximum points.

The result does not have any immediate effect on the position of either side in the table, but victory did maintain Kent's own, more modest, run, which has seen them win three of the last four First Division matches, the other one being a drawn game against leaders Surrey at Guildford, as they have moved from bottom but one in the table at the start of July to their present solid-looking fifth.

"We genuinely think we are up there with Surrey and Lancashire," Kent's captain, David Fulton, said afterwards, referring to his team's ability and competitive edge. "Third place is something we could achieve."

It also a position that is still not beyond Middlesex, who remain in fourth, a bare fistful of points above their conquerors. This defeat can be put down to Middlesex having a collective bad day at the office on Friday, when they allowed the Kent tail to wag hard enough to earn a vital first-innings advantage.

Then the Kent bowlers, most notably Martin Saggers, swung things away from the home team in the remains of the third day, which in turn left the last four wickets with too much to do when they re-emerged yesterday morning.

The Middlesex antidote to the potent spells weaved by Kent's off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was to sweep each and every delivery. The ploy merely allowed the Sri Lankan to brush aside the remaining pockets of resistance, including the obstinate Weekes, although not before he had reached his half-century.

It meant a paltry 24 runs were added to the overnight score, to leave Kent with what should have been a relatively straightforward 96 runs for victory, but targets in cricket are rarely a formality.

Fulton shaped to cut a wide ball from Joe Dawes which he could and should have ignored, and diverted it on to the stumps with just four runs on the board.

When Michael Carberry edged one from Chad Keegan that swung late and was caught behind there was a discernible Kentish wobble - or wobble of Kent, depending which side of the fence you sit.

Fortunately, Key and Andrew Symonds were steadier, and managed to knock off the remaining 73 runs without further alarm, completing the job 25 minutes after the lunch interval.