Kent's openers fight back

Warwickshire 457 Kent 135-0
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Warwickshire's adherence to their usual script took them to a first innings total of 457, which is about their average this season in the Championship. Their sequence of 10 consecutive first-innings scores of 400 or more is double anything any other county has achieved in the competition's history, so far as the record-keepers can deduce.

But the leaders did not have things all their own way here yesterday. Indeed, given that the home side were 338 for 4 overnight, this was Kent's day.

By the time a shower forced the players off before tea - the prelude to a thunderstorm that flooded the outfield and forced an abandonment at 4.30pm - the visitors had fought back handsomely. They still trail by 322 runs but have all wickets in hand after David Fulton and Ed Smith had tucked into some decidedly ordinary Warwickshire bowling.

Shortcomings in that department have been the one factor to cast doubt on Warwickshire's Championship chances, though they have scored so consistently heavily with the bat that it has mostly been overcome. Again in this match, they have a maximum haul of batting points and, probably, immunity from defeat.

However, Kent are well placed to deny them a win. Their bowling was not up to much on the first day but improved yesterday. Ian Butler, the New Zealand pace bowler, was the best of their makeshift attack. He denied Dougie Brown a half-century and stopped Michael Powell four short of a century, both times with the help of Fulton at first slip.

Powell looked aggrieved but he must be happy with his form. Left out of the side at the start of the season in favour of Jim Troughton, he has two hundreds in seven innings since returning.

Once he had gone there was still Brad Hogg to come, racing to his eighth score of 50 or more in 12 innings before holing out to long-off, but the Kent openers responded in kind, rattling along at more than five an over, encouraged by the short boundary on the Rea Bank side.

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