Copeland to the fore as Kent are pegged back

Trent Copeland took 5-71 as Kent were bowled out for 271 on the first day at Canterbury
Trent Copeland took 5-71 as Kent were bowled out for 271 on the first day at Canterbury

Kent suffered a dramatic last-session collapse in seemingly ideal batting conditions to be bowled out on the opening day of their LV= Championship clash with Northamptonshire for 271.

Having looked in good shape at 204 for three Kent had become the first side of four this season to take a batting bonus point off the East Midlanders, only for Northamptonshire to strike back hard in the final session.

Australian seamer Trent Copeland was the destroyer-in-chief with 5-71 - his best figures since arriving at Wantage Road at the start of the season.

The game started following a minute’s silence to mark the death of former Kent and England captain Mike Denness at the age of 72 last month.

Kent, having won the toss on the first day’s championship cricket of the season at St Lawrence, suffered an early casualty with the departure of Sam Northeast (10) who lost middle and off stumps when pushing hesitantly half-forward against left-arm seamer David Willey.

The hop county’s demise gathered momentum when they lost their two century-makers of the season thus far in the space of seven balls.

Brendan Nash, the former West Indies batsman now on Kolpak registration, chopped on against Steven Crook to go for 18 then Rob Key (16) drove at a Copeland leg-cutter to edge to Andrew Hall at first slip to make it 55-3.

The hosts rallied either side of lunch with a fourth-wicket stand worth 149 in 52.2 overs between Michael Powell, the former Glamorgan veteran, and England Under-19 starlet Daniel Bell-Drummond.

Powell was at his professional best in posting a 112-ball 50 with eight fours but Bell-Drummond, a graduate of the Kent Academy, should have gone for 32 when Kyle Coetzer dropped the simplest of chances at square leg from a skied hook.

Crook, the unlucky bowler, eventually broke the stand 28 overs later when Powell, on 70, wafted lamely at a wide ball to edge low to wicketkeeper David Murphy and spark a collapse that saw Kent lose seven wickets for 67 in the final session - five of them to the second new ball.

Four overs later, Crook struck again when Bell-Drummond, having batted almost three-and-a-half hours for 68, mistimed an attempted pull only to pick out substitute fielder Olly Stone at square leg.

Brothers-in-law Geraint Jones and James Tredwell added 31 before Jones inside-edged a Copeland lifter to the keeper then Matt Coles wastefully chipped one to mid-off to go without scoring.

Tredwell (19) edged into the cordon to give Willey a second scalp and Mark Davies (12) rocked back to force only to pick out Stephen Peters in the cover.

Last man Charlie Shreck lasted only five balls before Copeland, the pick of an impressive Northamptonshire attack, rearranged his stumps.