Fulton and De Silva lead the fightback

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The Independent Online
West Indies 337 Kent 95 and 307-8

Kent narrowly avoided a financial hammering after their week of misery. Knocked out of the NatWest Trophy, beaten in the Benson and Hedges Cup final and still smarting from a Sunday League set-back, they looked destined for a costly defeat inside two days at Canterbury after being dismissed for just 95 by the West Indies.

But then opener David Fulton and the Sri Lankan Aravinda de Silva finally gave Kent's supporters something to cheer by masterminding a badly needed fightback.

Fulton eventually fell for 89. But de Silva, the man who lit up Lord's on Saturday while scoring 112 in a losing cause against Lancashire, hit the century trail yet again. His last five Championship innings include four hundreds - two of them doubles - and today's golden contribution of 102 takes de Silva's first-class aggregate from seven knocks to 847.

It is unlikely to be enough to prevent West Indies from wrapping up victory tomorrow. Kent, 307 for 8 following on, are only 65 runs ahead. But at least there will be some entertainment to put before the hordes of corporate hospitality visitors who have booked out every tent at the St Lawrence Ground.

On a pitch which looked placid while West Indies were making 337, Kent crumbled inside 19 overs first time around with extras top-scoring with 24 and only Graham Cowdrey (20) and de Silva (18) reaching double figures.

The destroyers were the second-string pacemen Vasbert Drakes (5 for 20) and Ottis Gibson (4 for 47). Both bent their backs and made the ball lift sharply, but they were aided by some woeful shots. When Kent, 242 runs behind, slipped to 12 for 2 in their second innings, an early finish seemed inevitable. Fulton, however, showed good technique for three and a half hours, while de Silva stroked two sixes and 16 fours.