Harry Podmore took a career-best 4/26 as the bowlers had the best of a see-saw opening day against Warwickshire in the Specsavers County Championship at Tunbridge Wells.
Matt Henry (4/54) and Darren Stevens (2/18) did damage with the new ball as Kent dismissed the league leaders to/for in reply to Kent’s 197.
The opening bowlers reduced the visitors to 34-4 with Will Rhodes the first to fall for the league leaders, bowled neck-and-crop by Henry’s full inswinger.
Two balls later and former Test star Ian Bell departed as he chopped Henry to Adam Riley at gully after top-edging his first delivery over the slips for four.
Stevens, supported Henry well with a run of maidens and two wickets of his own: Dominic Sibley nicked behind before Adam Hose was trapped in-front in his next over.
Podmore, introduced at the Pavilion end, created havoc in a spell of 4/16 in his first 27 balls to remove the Bears’ middle-order with Jonathan Trott leading the resistance with his 90th first class half-century.
Teenager Harry Brookes shared a stand of 54 with the former England batsman in 12 overs before Henry mopped up the tail to take his tally of Championship victims to 47 at an average of 11.25.
Speaking after his career best, Podmore said: “It’s great to get a career-best and I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment! (In reference to hitting the winning boundary in Kent’s semi-final win in the Royal London One-Day Cup against Worcestershire on Sunday).
“There’s been a little bit of movement off the seam all day, nothing too dramatic, but I think both Joe Denly and Jonathan Trott showed that there are runs to be had out there if you apply yourself.
“I think it has been a case of they bowled well and we bowled well. If you put it in the right areas, especially when the ball is newer, then you will get your rewards.”
The visitors had little hesitation in opting to field first on a overcast humid morning at The Nevill Ground with left-arm seamer Keith Barker took 5/32 including a fine spell of 4/13 from the Pavilion end after lunch as Kent were dismissed in 54.1 overs.
Joe Denly top-scored with a patient 59 including half-century stands with in-form Heino Kuhn (39) and Darren Stevens (27) after the early loss of Kent’s openers.
Daniel Bell-Drummond was caught behind off Chris Wright and Sean Dickson was clean bowled by the accurate Barker before Denly led the fightback.
The 32-year-old kept losing partners as Oliver Hannon-Dolby struck twice in an over with Kuhn and Zak Crawley departing LBW.
Denly and Matt Henry fell to Barker in the same over before resistance from Harry Podmore (22) and Adam Riley (13*) got Kent close a batting bonus point before running out of partners.