Hampshire v Kent: Bell-Drummond and Northeast hit tons for visitors

Sam Northeast
Northeast hit his fourth first-class ton of the season against Hampshire
LV= County Championship Division Two, Ageas Bowl
Close, day one: Kent 312-3 v Hampshire
Kent 3pts; Hampshire 1pt
Match scorecard

Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Northeast both hit tons as Kent dominated on day one against Hampshire in Southampton.

Kent's decision to bat looked poor after Matt Coles bowled Rob Key for a duck and had Ben Harmison caught in the slips by Liam Dawson for 11.

The hosts' leg-spinner Imran Tahir (1-73) then trapped Brendan Nash lbw for 39 before lunch as Kent fell to 86-3.

However, Bell-Drummond's (135 not out) and Northeast's (115 not out) unbeaten stand of 226 saw Kent close on 312-3.

Set for a draw?
11 of the last 15 Championship games between Hampshire (three wins) and Kent (one win) have been drawn.

Opener Bell-Drummond hit 21 fours as passed his previous highest first-class score of 103, while Northeast's third consecutive first-class century included 12 fours and a maximum.

The pair's impressive fourth-wicket double-century partnership came off 386 balls as they batted through the last two sessions unnerved and unscathed.

Hampshire's desperate attempts to remove the settled batsman saw captain Jimmy Adams use eight bowlers, including Will Smith and James Vince.

The hosts' collection of a bonus point for dismissing three Kent batsmen mathematically ended Surrey's promotion hopes as Hampshire continue to aim to secure their place in Division One for the first time since 2011.

Hampshire coach Dale Benkenstein:

"We bowled well and did not give anything away. All credit to the Kent lads. It was difficult early on, but they both deserved their centuries.

"Promotion means a lot to the Hampshire players and you could sense a few of them getting nervous in the dressing room, but I expect the whole issue to go down to the wire in the last match at Cardiff."

Kent batsman Sam Northeast:

"Dropping down the order has been the key factor in my recent good form. I am feeling much more relaxed when I go to the crease.

"I am delighted to have scored three hundreds in consecutive matches. In truth, it was a pretty flat deck out there after lunch and the plan is to carry on until lunch on the second day if at all possible."

BBC Radio Solent's Kevan James:

"It is difficult to see how Hampshire can win this now, even after just one day.

"Coach Dale Benkenstein thought his team could have bowled slightly better after reducing Kent to 28-2, but thought that overall they did not do a bad job.

"Imran Tahir found little joy in the pitch after taking an over or two to get into the groove, but nor should he expect any so early in the game."

BBC Radio Kent's Peter Guise:

"This was a rare treat of a day for Kent supporters.

"Not only did they see their side overcome the loss of early wickets, but they could bask in both the September sunshine and the reflected glow from an undefeated 226-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Sam Northeast and Daniel Bell-Drummond.

"It spanned exactly two sessions, and there were two centuries to applaud, and a career best 135 not out for Bell-Drummond, who said it was "one of the best feeling of my career so far"."