Kent falter after Van Jaarsveld hits debut century

Kent 342-9 Warwickshire

Kolpak players may not be popular, but in Martin van Jaarsveld Kent appear to have secured the services of a very good one. The former South Africa Test batsman, who is allowed to work freely in the British Isles by virtue of an association agreement between the European Union and the country of his residence, highlighted this with an elegant hundred in his maiden Championship innings for the county.

Kolpak players may not be popular, but in Martin van Jaarsveld Kent appear to have secured the services of a very good one. The former South Africa Test batsman, who is allowed to work freely in the British Isles by virtue of an association agreement between the European Union and the country of his residence, highlighted this with an elegant hundred in his maiden Championship innings for the county.

Van Jaarsveld became the first Kent player since Derek Aslett in 1981 to score a hundred in his initial first-class innings for the club, yet he was not the only debutant to star. Darren Stevens, a winter signing from Leicestershire, also showed his potential with a classy 88. The pair made the most of a slow Canterbury pitch and a workmanlike attack to put their side in a strong position.

But the remaining members of Kent's batting line-up failed to capitalise on the good work of their new recruits and by the close 238 for 3 became 342 for 9. Ashley Giles orchestrated Kent's decline with his second five-wicket haul of the season. On a surface offering little assistance the left-arm spinner showed the benefits of being persistent, and he has now taken three fewer Championship wickets this year than he did in the previous two seasons.

On several occasions Kent's batsmen attempted to get after Giles but the 32-year-old kept chipping away, and he eventually got what he deserved. David Fulton, the Kent captain, was the first to fall when he edged to the keeper.

Matthew Walker quickly followed, but it was the dismissal of Van Jaarsveld, who was bowled cutting when Kent were on 238, which changed the course of the day. Geraint Jones scored a sprightly 32 but Matthew Dennington, Simon Cook and Min Patel looked completely out of sorts during their brief time in the middle.

Van Jaarsveld represented South Africa during the winter, scoring 49 against England during the drawn second Test in Durban, but limited opportunities on the international stage, along with the strength of the pound, caused the right-hander to turn his back on the South African game and pursue a career in county cricket in England.

The 30-year-old arrived at the crease following the early demise of Robert Key, who edged a good ball from Heath Streak to Jonathan Trott at second slip. England's selectors are unlikely to decide on their No 3 at this stage of the season, but the presence of Ian Bell - Key's closest challenger for the spot - in the opposition can only have heightened his disappointment.

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