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County Championship: Liam Dawson and Ben Brown hit big hundreds as Hampshire turn screw on Kent

Liam Dawson and Ben Brown
Liam Dawson and Ben Brown put on 273 runs in 66 overs to take the game away from Kent
LV= County Championship Division One, The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury (day three)
Kent 305 & 78-3: Compton 37*; Abbott 2-9
Hampshire 652-6dec: Dawson 171, Brown 157, Vince 111, Gubbins 69; Gilchrist 3-71
Kent (4 pts) trail Hampshire (8 pts) by 269 runs with seven wickets remaining

Liam Dawson struck a career-best 171 and Ben Brown hit 157 as Hampshire bossed Kent on day three at Canterbury.

He shared a county record 273-run fifth-wicket stand with Brown as Hants took full advantage of a placid pitch.

Keith Barker added a rapid unbeaten 44 as the visitors declared on 652-6, for a huge 347-run first innings lead.

Kyle Abbott (2-9) then removed England batsman Zak Crawley for 29 and Daniel Bell-Drummond for a duck as Kent closed on 78-3, still 269 runs behind.

Kent opener Ben Compton remained unbeaten on 37, but Kent have much work to do to avoid an innings defeat after South African seamer Abbott trapped Crawley lbw and four balls later had Bell-Drummond caught at mid-off.

James Vince’s stylish century had given Hampshire the upper hand on day two, but resuming on 337-4. Dawson and Brown completely took the game away from the home side.

Dawson soon brought up his 11th first-class ton, from 144 balls, with a boundary off Matt Milnes after adding 70 to his overnight unbeaten 63 in the morning session as Hampshire extended their lead to 152 runs at lunch.

Brown became Hampshire’s third century-maker soon after the resumption, bringing up his 23rd first-class ton off 161 balls and Dawson moved past 150.

Off-spinner Tawanda Muyeye finally struck in the 49th over of the day for the toiling Kent attack, as Dawson holed out to Jordan Cox for a 268-ball 171, and then had Brown caught by Gilchrist, six runs shy of his best knock.

But there was no respite as Barker shared an unbroken 79-run stand with Felix Organ (44) before skipper Vince declared at tea to leave Kent’s top order facing a testing evening session.

Hampshire’s Ben Brown:

“It’s been a pretty special day, it was amazing. We were told we’d broken the record. Dawson played incredibly well. He really got going this morning which allowed me to settle in and we dovetailed quite nicely. We scored quickly throughout the day and it set us up nicely and gave us a bit of a time to get those three wickets.

“It’s a good pitch, it’s a bit slow. We owe so much to the bowlers in the first innings, especially for Barker to bowl them out on that wicket was an incredible effort. It takes pressure off us batters. Vince played incredibly well and that made it easier for the middle order. We were lucky to cash in.

“Abbott bowled a fantastic spell there. He just nibbled it either way and probably could have three or four but those two wickets really changed the momentum and then Felix produced the perfect ball from an off-spinner. It spun a mile through the gate and clipped the off stump.”

Kent’s Simon Cook:

“It was a tough day if you look at the scoreboard. These are pitches that are a bit unusual for here, traditionally they’ve gone around a little bit and it does take a different way and a different style of bowling. It’s something we’ve got to adapt to very quickly.

“Where we want to get to is to produce better cricket wickets and on the way to that we’re going to come across some pitches like this. It’s about learning how to bat on them and learning how to bowl on them, how to contain a run rate, how to contain a side.

“When you get into an innings like that you find it very difficult to contain a run rate. The day extends out, it becomes very difficult to bowl and morale drops because you don’t feel you’re ever in the game.”

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