Play finally got under way here at 2.30 and Robert Key declared the Kent first innings closed on the overnight score. The declaration left Key, who learned today that he is to captain the England Lions against the New Zealanders at Southampton next week, unbeaten on 178 and his partner James Tredwell undefeated on a career best 123.
Key, on reaching the 36th hundred of his first class career had also set a county record. This was the 15th First Class hundred the Kent captain has scored for the county on this ground (and the 16th in all), more than any other Kent batsman has managed. The previous best was 14 by Neil Taylor.
The Tourists made slow progress when they began their reply, with openers Jamie How and Aaron Redmond taking a cautious 16 overs to compile 35 runs, at which point they were rudely separated.
Redmond, who has transformed himself from a leg-spinning lower order all-rounder into an opening bat, decided to have an ugly swish at a wide ball from Ryan McLaren and succeeded only in edging it to the wicketkeeper Geraint Jones. When they went in at the interval the New Zealanders were still 248 runs behind.