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Kent in driving seat after building big lead on day three

Kent are in pole position to re-ignite their Specsavers Championship promotion push at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence having whittled out six Worcestershire wickets on day three of a hard-fought encounter.

The visitors limped in at stumps on 213 for six and still trailing by 27 runs as the 165th Canterbury Week clash goes into its fourth and final day.

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Daryl Mitchell’s second-placed side conceded a 240-run first innings deficit and then proceeded to lose three wickets in both of the last two sessions to slide closer to only their second defeat of the campaign.

On a pitch that seems to be getting flatter by the session, Kent struggled for an early breakthrough as Mitchell combined with locum opening bat George Rhodes to add 94 for the first wicket.

Rhodes survived a huge appeal for a catch at the wicket in his 30s after a failed attempt to hook a Matt Coles bouncer. The young son of visiting coach, Steve Rhodes, went on to score his maiden first-class half-century from 103 balls and with seven fours.

The mid-afternoon introduction of Will Gidman turned the tide Kent’s way when Rhodes had his off stump plucked out by a Gidman Yorker.

Eleven runs on Mitchell (43) in aiming to work to leg went lbw to another full-length Gidman delivery then, on the cusp of tea, Tom Fell, called for a risky single to cover, and Alex Blake swooped to run out Joe Clarke (10) at the striker’s end.

After tea Kent made further inroads when Claydon plucked out the middle and off stumps of Tom Kohler-Cadmore (17) after he dragged an attempted back-foot force onto the timbers, then Tom Fell (32) aiming to slog sweep against England off-spinner James Tredwell departed lbw despite the hint of an under edge.

Kent elected against taking the second new ball in the final over of the day and were rewarded when Tredwell got one to turn inside the defensive prod of Ross Whiteley to clip off stump (15).

“It’s been a docile sort of pitch but it’s just starting to turn a little,” said the Kent off-spinner.

“You get your rewards if you stick to your lines and lengths for long enough. It’s a patience pitch where you have to try and draw a mistake out of the batsmen.

“There’s a little bit of rough, so I was trying to encourage the occasional drive when there’s nothing going on. We’re still 30 runs to the good and we’re backing ourselves to finish the job off on the final day.”

At the start of the third day Kent batted on for a further 50 minutes before finally being dismissed for 451.

Last man Claydon (46) and loanee Gidman extended their 10th wicket partnership to 75 before Claydon, in looking to raise his 50 with a lofted drive, advanced down the pitch and missed to be bowled middle stump by spinner Rhodes.

Gidman, on his championship debut for Kent, finished undefeated on 75 off 135 balls and with eight fours. During the innings he also moved past the 3,000-run milestone for his first-class career.

As he went in for the lunch interval Claydon, who joined Kent in 2013 and is the county’s leading championship wicket-taker in 2016, was presented with Kent county cap number 213.

Scorecard

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