Kent 342-5 Hampshire: Key finally offers Kent redemption

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As yet there has been no plague of locusts reported at any cricket ground where Kent have played this summer, but don't bet against a visitation of the creatures before the end of this season, given what has befallen Rob Key and his men this year.

There has been something of an Old Testament look to their season, what with the floods at Worcester and a plague of injuries and international calls that have left them with a skeleton staff in the bowling department.

Chief among the nasties were the floods, because Worcestershire's form and fortune being at the lowest of ebbs, it would have been odds on a big haul of points either at New Road, or Kidderminster where the match could have been staged, back in July. As it was the paltry four points that were handed to each side for the abandoned match have done precious little to ease Kent out of the shadow of relegation.

It was little short of a miracle yesterday then that Key won his first toss in four matches. That he opted to bat was no surprise – injuries and the World Twenty20 having robbed him of bowling options.

It falls to the batsmen therefore to pile up enough runs to give what is left of the attack something substantial at which to bowl. They got off to an ideal start with Key and Joe Denly putting on a hundred for the first time this summer.

Key just failed to score his fourth hundred in five innings when he fell lbw to Sean Ervine, and although Matthew Walker, Darren Stevens and Neil Dexter all fell cheaply, Martin van Jaarsveld more than made up for their loss, finishing the day unbeaten on 112.