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Northeast hits unbeaten 150 as bowlers toil on day two

Kent captain Sam Northeast led from the front with an unbeaten 154 that moved his side into a commanding position in the Specsavers County Championship match against Gloucestershire.

With his side in trouble on 6-2, Northeast, in tandem with New Zealand opener Tom Latham, turned the course of events on their head with a third-wicket stand of 204 inside 53 overs as Kent reached stumps on 304 for three.

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The pair came together after Kent, responding to the visitors’ workmanlike total of 337, had lost two wickets within 15 balls at the start of their reply.

in-form opener Daniel Bell-Drummond, playing his 100th first-class innings, defended his third delivery off the back foot against David Payne, only for the ball to trickle back onto the stumps for a duck.

In his next over Payne, Gloucestershire’s slingy left-arm paceman, got one to hold its own against the slope to square up Joe Denly in his back-foot defensive push and pluck out off stump. Denly also went without scoring from six deliveries.

Northeast and Latham had little or no trouble once the shine and hardness went off the ball and combined either side of tea in a textbook double-century stand.

Northeast posted his first championship 50 of the season from 83 balls, while Latham faced the same amount of deliveries for his third successive half-century in Division 2.

Northeast went on to cut Kieran Noema-Barnett for his 12th four for a 147-ball century, the 12th of his first-class career, as Kent went in at tea on 198 for two.

Latham also looked set for three figures but, after facing 157 balls without a mistake, he was undone by Noema-Barnett’s lack of pace. Playing too soon to a slow off-cutter, Latham got a leading edge to scoop a comfortable return catch to the bowler to go for 90.

Their stand was Kent’s best for their third wicket at Canterbury, beating 197 set by Alan Wells and Trevor Ward in 1997.

Northeast marched on, moving past 150 for only the second time in championship cricket from 222 balls and with 18 fours, to go with his straight six lofted off spinner Jack Taylor as he and Alex Blake (45*) combined to add a further 94 through to the close.

"We're in a very good place, so we're hoping the bad weather forecast for Tuesday stays away and that we can bat on, get 200 to 300 ahead and have a real crack at winning," said Northeast.

"The pitch has got better and better. There's a little bit in it with the new ball, but there's not a lot of turn at all. I'm pleased with my form and the quality of the pitches this year has helped too."

At the day’s start. Kent had needed 41 minutes and 11 overs to pick up Gloucestershire’s 10th wicket, that of last man Josh Shaw for 17. Attempting to leg glance against Calum Haggett, Shaw edged leg-side for Adam Rouse to compete a tumbling catch to his left for his fourth catch of the innings and his 14th of the season.

Payne was left unbeaten on 46, while Haggett, Darren Stevens and Mitch Claydon finished with three wickets apiece.


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