Gloucestershire v Kent: Visitors set final day target at Cheltenham

Cricket
County Championship Division Two, Cheltenham
Close, day three: Gloucestershire 562-5 dec & 237-1 dec, Kent 389-5 dec
Gloucestershire 5 pts, Kent 1 pt
Match scorecard

Gloucestershire have set Kent 411 to win on the final day following the third declaration of their batsman-friendly encounter at Cheltenham.

Resuming on 165-2, in reply to the home side's massive 562-5, Kent declared behind on 389-5, Ben Harmison (101no) having hit a first ton in six years.

Gloucestershire batted again, racing to 236-1 declared from just 41.4 overs.

Michael Klinger became the game's fifth centurion, hitting an unbeaten 102, supported by Chris Dent, who made 82.

That took Dent's tally of runs in the match to 235, following a first innings run feast that also saw Alex Gidman (211) and Hamish Marshall (106) make centuries for the hosts.

Klinger's ton was his fourth County Championship century of the summer.

The pre-arranged dual-declaration between the two skippers Klinger and James Tredwell, the second of them coming minutes before the scheduled six o'clock close, leaves Kent a minimum of 96 overs to get the runs.

After Kent slipped to 212-4 in the morning session, Gloucestershire still had hopes of enforcing the follow-on.

But veteran county campaigner Darren Stevens came in to join Harmison, dominating a stand of 103 to slam the door shut, crashing 75 runs off 71 balls in a forthright innings that yielded nine fours and two sixes.

Harmison's century, his fourth first-class hundred overall (after a career which began with tons in successive matches for Durham back in 2006) was his first since making 101 against Warwickshire at the Riverside in August 2007.

The younger brother of former England paceman Steve has now scored at least a half century every second visit to the crease this summer.

VIEW FROM THE COMMENTARY BOX

BBC Radio Bristol's Bob Hunt:

"On such a flat pitch, with only 11 wickets falling in three days, it was obvious that there would have to be negotiations to force a meaningful final Saturday.

"It would seem that Kent are now favourites needing under four and a half an over.

"But Michael Klinger is backing his bowlers to grab a win to enhance their promotion hopes,"

BBC Radio Kent's Peter Guise:

"A first Championship century of the season for Ben Harmison who, having not had the best of times in the one-day format, found the red ball game much more to his liking.

"The pitch is batting conducive but, credit to both James Tredwell and Michael Klinger for engineering what promises to be a feast of cricket on Festival Saturday.

"The target is challenging but one that is possible and also offers hope to the fielding side on a strip that might yet offer assistance to the spinners."

Match scorecard

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