Somerset 427 & 243-8 Kent 208 & 160-6: Key left holding the baby as Somerset eye top spot

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The Independent Online

There was drama enough off the field for Rob Key, the Kent captain, who made a 235-mile dash home to Whitstable to be with his wife, Fleur, for the birth of their second child. Back at the County Ground, meanwhile, Kent's chances of keeping the match going long enough for Key to play a further part looked slim.

With five sessions to chase 463 to win, an unlikely but theoretically possible target with 162 overs at their disposal, Kent might have supposed they would still be batting well into today, allowing Key to complete his paternal duties and point the car back along the M4, arriving in time to pad up and take his place somewhere down the order.

These things seldom go to plan, however. Kent's vision of steadily whittling away the runs began to go wrong in the fourth over, when James Tredwell, opening in Key's place, tried to leave alone a ball from Steffan Jones but still managed to nick it to the wicketkeeper.

Joe Denly, Matt Walker and Martin van Jaarsveld attempted to repair the damage, but each got out after appearing to be set, Walker leg before to Ben Phillips, Denly bowled by Jones, van Jaarsveld gloving an attempted hook. Ian Blackwell, the left-arm spinner, trapped Justin Kemp on the back foot, then the substitute Neil Edwards - fielding in place of Marcus Trescothick, who was reportedly feeling dizzy - took a fine catch at second slip to remove Yasir Arafat.

The net result was that Somerset, who declared on 243 for 8 at lunch, had set themselves up to leap from fifth place to first in the Championship table, although a win for Durham at Guildford would take them a point ahead. With an overnight lead of 348 at 129 for 5, Somerset had suffered an early setback when Craig Kieswetter, attempting to leave, played on to Ryan McLaren, but a bold half-century from Phillips, his best score for Somerset, took the home side's lead beyond 400 after Justin Langer had been caught behind for 88, driving at McLaren.

Phillips hit six fours and pulled Arafat for a satisfying six over midwicket.