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Key hits an unbeaten 156 as Kent pile on the runs

Sunday 16th May 2010

Rob Key has scored 24 boundaries in his innings so far

Kent v Durham LV= County Championship Division 1, Day One at Canterbury.
By Mark Pennell
Kent captain Rob Key featured in two century stands and hit a magnificent, unbeaten 156 to take his side into tea on 279 for five on a rain interrupted opening day to their LV= County Championship clash with fellow strugglers Durham.
Having slipped to 10 for two, Key joined forces with Martin van Jaarsveld (30) to add 117 in 25 overs then, after the loss of his vice-captain and Sam Northeast (4) in the space of four overs, Key teamed up with Azhar Mahmood (43) to post 106 for the fifth wicket.
The hosts appeared in trouble at the start of the day following an opening burst of two for five by England pace bowler Steven Harmison. Bowling from the Pavilion End, Harmison shaped his sixth ball of the day away from Joe Denly (0) who tried to withdraw the bat at the last moment only to nick behind Phil Mustard.
In Harmison“s next over Geraint Jones, having clipped a brace of threes through the leg side to move to nine, fenced at a lifting ball from Harmison that might well have been left alone only to steer to Michael Di Venuto at second slip.
Van Jaarsveld and Key counter-attacked to take the hosts to 120 for two when rain led to an early lunch, Key having moved to his maiden 50 of the championship campaign inside 87 minutes with a guided four to third man off Ben Harmison for the 10th boundary of his positive 61-ball stay.
Five overs after the interval van Jaarsveld became Harmison“s third victim when his leaden-footed drive flew to slip where Dale Benkenstein took the chance in his right-hand at the second attempt.
Northeast nicked another Harmison belter to Mustard soon after and at 141 for four Kent were again in serious danger of underachieving in their first innings despite Key“s eye-catching 105-ball century with 18 fours.
Thankfully, he found a willing ally in Azhar Mahmood who collected five fours in a cameo 65-ball stay as he and Key added 106 in 23 overs.
They were only two short of equalling Kent“s fifth-wicket record against Durham when Azhar Mahmood pushed at one from Benkenstein to be caught at slip by Di Venuto bringing together Key and Alex Blake (27*) who took the side through to tea without further alarm.