Chris Cooke scored a superb maiden first-class century to keep Kent’s attack at bay and guide Glamorgan to 329 all out on the opening day of the LV= County Championship Division Two match at Canterbury.
The 28-year-old South African-born batsman was last out for 171 after holding Glamorgan’s first innings together against a Kent team still with an outside chance of promotion and aiming to win three of their last four championship games.
At stumps, Kent were one without loss in their first innings, after four overs.
It always looked like being Cooke’s day after he was dropped on two by Adam Riley at second slip, off Darren Stevens, and overall he batted for 214 balls and struck 18 fours and a six.
Riley’s miss was hugely costly for Kent, who would have had their opponents 15 for four had Cooke been dismissed. As it was, Cooke and Jim Allenby put on 62 for the fourth wicket to begin Glamorgan’s recovery from seven for three.
Allenby made 44 from 44 balls, leading a counter-attack with eight fours, but it was not until Dean Cosker joined Cooke in an eighth-wicket partnership of 118 in 32 overs that Glamorgan moved into a position of comfort following their decision to bat first on a good pitch and in warm, sunny conditions.
The 36-year-old Cosker’s two-hour 45 from 104 balls was only seven runs short of his career-best, and his determined resistance gave Cooke the opportunity to go shooting past his previous first-class best – 96, also against Kent, in June – as well as hauling Glamorgan up from a distinctly under-par 183 for seven.
Mitch Claydon led Kent’s bowling effort with four for 47 and it was the burly seamer who ended Cosker’s resistance in his second over with the second new ball.
Claydon also added the tail-end wicket of Michael Hogan (one), bowled swishing, to those earlier of Jacques Rudolph, caught at first slip for nought during an opening spell of 5-4-1-1, and Allenby, who was caught behind thin-edging an attempted pull.
Robbie Joseph – making his first championship appearance since the end of June – removed Will Bragg (three) leg-before after the batsman had struggled through 41 balls, and Matt Hunn won an lbw appeal to send back Graham Wagg for 18 after he had driven off-spinner Riley for six and four in the space of three balls.
Riley did have the consolation of taking Cooke’s wicket, when he drove to Hunn at long off, but only after he had batted for five hours and displayed a brilliant range of strokeplay.
Cooke later detailed what had been an eventful day, beginning at the breakfast table.
He said: “The day didn’t start too well for me as I lost my car keys during breakfast!
“I was a bit late getting to the ground as a result, but it all worked out well in the end and I was doubly delighted that my mum was here on a visit from her Cape Town home, so she was able to see me score my maiden first-class hundred.”