Van Jaarsveld posts first championship ton of the summer as Kent reach 360

Wednesday 28th July 2010

Martin van Jaarsveld gathered 14 fours and a six in his 152-ball stay

Kent v Essex LV= County Championship Division 1. Day One, Canterbury.

By Mark Pennell

A first century of the season from Martin van Jaarsveld coupled with a stylish 99 from Geraint Jones put Kent in command after the opening day against injury-hit Essex.
The fourth-wicket partners added 176 in 41 overs either side of tea to help Kent post four batting bonus points only to both give up their wickets tamely to Australian leg-spinner Bryce McGain.
Essex, who were hampered by back and side-strain injuries respectively to Ravinder Bopara and Maurice Chambers, took only one wicket in the mid-session when Joe Denly (40), three overs after lunch, pushed defensively at McGain to edge a catch to Essex keeper and captain, James Foster.
Jones and van Jaarsveld then occupied centre stage for two hours 23 minutes with van Jaarsveld reaching a deserved century from 148 balls and with 13 fours and a six.
He went soon after when miscuing an attempted on-drive into the hands of David Masters at mid-off.
Jones was one run away from reaching three figures when he too mistimed a drive against McGain to pick out the fielder at mid-on and make it 330 for five and leave McGain with an expensive haul of four for 135.
Kent lost their sixth and final wicket in the penultimate over of the day when Darren Stevens (34), driving on the up against Masters, nicked to Tim Phillips at second slip.
Batting first in ideal conditions and having won the toss, Kent lost Rob Key for 13 in the eighth over. Playing his first game in three weeks after a fractured little finger, Key turned a ball from Chambers off his pads only to see Jaik Mickleburgh at forward short leg cling on to a sharp, reflex catch to make it 26 for one.
In a change to their batting policy, Kent sent in Sam Northeast at No3 in place of Jones who had held the berth throughout the opening 10 games of the season.
Northeast responded with the two best shots of the morning; a square cut to point and a clip through backward square that both raced to the boundary off Andy Carter.
Northeast then blotted his copybook by gifting away his wicket just before lunch. Down the wicket and aiming to drive against Australian wrist-spinner and Essex debutant McGain, he failed to get to the pitch and holed out to long off where substitute fielder Grant Flower took a fine running catch.