Kent 165 and 198 for 4 (Denly 70*, Cox 40*) lead Warwickshire 225 (Hain 99, Saini 5-72) by 138 runs
Sam Hain defied discomfort from a sore back to lead Warwickshire’s batting. He was last to fall, for 99, as the home side acquired a lead that was useful rather than commanding.
During an overcast morning, Warwickshire made bitty progress as Hain battled to cajole runs from the tail. As Kent’s refurbished seam attack plugged away manfully, the last four wickets were all snaffled by Billings. Danny Briggs edged Matt Henry and when Henry Brookes and Craig Miles nicked Saini, it was left to No. 11 Olly Hannon-Dalby to try to escort his team to a batting point and his partner to 100. The former happened but the latter did not as Hain bottom-edged a cut at Matt Milnes.
Second time round, Kent again started falteringly and lost both openers before the deficit was erased. Ben Compton edged Hannon-Dalby to third slip and Zak Crawley chipped Will Rhodes to mid-wicket.
Daniel Bell-Drummond collected 27 from 44 balls but fell lbw to Hannon-Dalby and when Craig Miles hit Jack Leaning’s off-stump with a beauty, Kent were 105 for 4 – just 45 ahead.
Denly and Cox played with composure and patience to first stabilise the innings and then accelerate gently against the softening ball as the pitch appeared to start to flatten. Denly continued his return to form by reaching 50 in 92 balls and celebrated with a straight six off Briggs. Cox batted impressively for the second time in the match and that the sixth-wicket pair stayed intact to resume in the morning tilted the balance of power in this fluctuating contest narrowly Kent’s way.