Surrey-Kent goes down to wire after Robert Key century

LV= County Championship - Division Two, The Oval
Close of play, day three: Surrey 387 & 184, Kent 250 & 270-8
Surrey 7pts, Kent 5pts
Match scorecard
County cricket

Robert Key hit a fine unbeaten century to give Kent a slim hope of beating Surrey.

Resuming their second innings on 138-7, Surrey were eventually all out for 185 as David Balcombe finished with figures of 5-63.

That left Kent needing 322 to win but their run chase got off to a poor start as they lost opener Joe Denly in the second over.

Key's 144 not out kept Kent in the game as they closed on 270-8, 52 adrift.

That will be a major source of frustration to the Kent skipper who hit his first century of the season only to watch his team-mates fail at the other end.

Martin van Jaarsveld's 35 was the only other contribution of note from a side now relying on Key's heroics to see them to victory against a Surrey team who will begin day four as favourites.

POST MATCH REACTION

BBC London 94.9s Mark Church:

"A tense final morning lies in store with Surrey needing two wickets for victory and Kent needing 52 more runs for the win.

"Kent are still in the game thanks to a magnificent innings from Rob Key.The Kent captain finished the day unbeaten on 144 as Surrey pushed for victory on the third evening after claiming the extra half an hour.

"Surrey will be confident of claiming the final two wickets with a new ball in hand and a pace attack in good form. But with Key still there on the final morning Kent could still claim a dramatic victory."

BBC Radio Kent's Peter Guise:

"You have to admire the optimism in the Kent camp. But they did what they needed to do early on and take wickets although Surrey's last wicket partnership may yet proof to be the deciding factor.

"Facing a huge total for victory, Kent skipper Rob Key led from the front with a magnificent 144 not out but he is running out of batting partners. Key said after the close of play that he was delighted with his century but it had been a year in the making.

"Should be an interesting first session on the last day if the last two can stay with Key."

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