Kent stay up after day of drama at Canterbury and beyond

Luke Wells walks off at the end of his innings Getty Images

Lancashire 327 (Bohannon 113, Hurst 76*, Balderson 54) and 390 for 8 dec (Wells 117, Bailey 78, Jennings 74, Bohannon 68*) drew with Kent 494 (Denly 136, Compton 95, Balderson 4-69)

Kent are staying in Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship, after a day of unmitigated, stomach-churning drama at Canterbury. They drew their game with Lancashire and then faced an almost unbearable 80-minute wait for news from Trent Bridge, where a Middlesex win would have been enough to relegate them.

Lancashire's Luke Wells made 117 and Keaton Jennings 74, but after collapsing from 194 for 0 to 258 for 7, Josh Bohannon and Tom Bailey batted them to safety, making 68 not out and 78 respectively.

Jack Leaning and Aron Nijjar took three wickets apiece, but Kent's failure to finish their opponents off left their supporters sweating on news from Nottingham. The visitors closed on 390 for 8, a lead of 223.

Fans and staff, at least those who could stand to watch, duly crowded round laptops and iphones. Kent captain Leaning prowled the balcony, and Director of Cricket Paul Downton stood grinning with the sheer tension of it all.

Every run was cheered, every wicket felt like a depth charge and when Nottinghamshire hit the winning runs a roar that may well have been audible at Trent Bridge was emitted.

The consensus at the start of the day was the Kent would probably be ok, but the word "probably" ended up doing some very heavy lifting. With seven bonus points in the bank Kent knew they'd be safe if they could match Middlesex's result against Nottinghamshire, but for the first hour things looked grim, in more than one sense.

Play began under leaden skies, but the seamers made no impact. Lancashire resumed on 126 without loss and had levelled the scores within 13 overs.

Wells carved Jack Leaning through point for the four that racked up his 24th first-class hundred but eventually fell when he edged the same bowler to Daniel Bell-Drummond at slip.

From 194 for 0, Lancashire lost five wickets for 32 runs. Jennings went in almost identical fashion in Leaning's next over and Steven Croft should have been out to the next ball but he was dropped by Tawanda Muyeye at short leg.

George Bell flashed at Aron Nijjar and was caught behind for 1. George Balderson drove Leaning to Compton at point and also went for 1 and a session that had started so demoralisingly ended on a high when Nijjar had Croft caught by Bell-Drummond, leaving Lancashire on 226 for 5 at lunch.

Matthew Hurst was then out for a duck in the third over after the resumption, skying Yuzvendra Chahal to Nathan Gilchrist at mid-off.

Just as news of Middlesex's gutsy declaration filtered through, Chahal switched to the Pavilion End and duped Tom Hartley into a rash shot that was taken by Ben Compton at mid-off for 18.

At that point the lead was under 100 and a Kent win at least looked possible but Bohannon and Bailey batted through till tea, by which time Lancashire were 344 for 7 and there were only 27 overs left. Both batters were dropped, the former by Harry Finch off Joey Evison, the latter when he offered Chahal a return catch.

These lapses effectively finished off any lingering chance of a run chase and Kent's fate was out of their hands. Bell-Drummond couldn't cling on when Bohannon edged Leaning but by then almost everyone in ground was either watching the stream from Trent Bridge, nervously following the score on their phone or, in some cases, praying.

Bailey was caught by Gilchrist off Nijjar just after he'd passed his highest first-class score of 77 and Muyeye came on to bowl for the first time this season and Ben Compton for the first time ever as both sides went through the motions before shaking hands and heading off to watch the nearest available stream.

It wasn't an easy watch, but after nearly 90 minutes of soaring blood-pressure and heart palpitations deliverance came and a wave of relief engulfed the St. Lawrence.

Lancashire 3rd innings Partnerships

1st194LWP WellsKK Jennings
2nd3KK JenningsGJ Bell
3rd2SJ CroftGJ Bell
4th11SJ CroftGP Balderson
5th16SJ CroftJJ Bohannon
6th1JJ BohannonMF Hurst
7th31JJ BohannonTW Hartley
8th124TE BaileyJJ Bohannon
9th8JJ BohannonJM Blatherwick