County Championship: Essex and Kent set for tense finish
|LV= County Championship Division Two, Chelmsford (day two)|
|Kent 193 & 163: Northeast 77, Masters 4-45|
|Essex 164 & 66-3: Browne 25, Claydon 2-5|
|Essex victory target 193|
|Essex 3pts, Kent 3pts|
A total of 17 wickets tumbled on day two at Chelmsford between Essex and Kent as bowlers continued to dominate.
Resuming on 67-6 after 16 wickets on the opening day at Chelmsford, Graham Napier blasted 57 off 40 balls as Essex were bowled out for 164.
David Masters (4-45) helped skittle the visitors for 163 in their second innings as Sam Northeast made 77.
Requiring 193 for victory, Essex moved to 57-1, but two wickets from Mitchell Claydon saw them close on 66-3.
Napier's typically aggressive innings earlier in the day, which included seven fours and a six, could prove crucial in such a low-scoring game as he shared an eighth-wicket stand of 80 with Jaik Mickleburgh (46).
Similarly, Northeast's half-century for Kent, just the third of the game, gave them a chance as the hosts still need another 127 runs for victory on the third day with seven wickets in hand.
Essex all-rounder Graham Napier:
"We have ended the day with our noses in front and that's a position we would have settled for considering how we started the day.
"It's a pitch where runs are not easy to come by, but I decided to adopt a positive approach and it worked to help us get near their total.
"But we still face plenty of hard work ahead if we are to get a victory."
Kent paceman Mitchell Claydon:
"Those two wicket towards the close have put us right back in it and the game is very evenly poised.
"It's up to us to put the ball in the right areas more consistently to go on and win the match, and I think we can do that if we nick a couple of early wickets in the morning.
"One thing is for certain and that is that batsmen will have to battle hard for every run - it's that sort of pitch."