Vilas and Croft hit centuries as Lancs dominate Day One at Kent
Centuries from Dane Vilas and Steven Croft took Lancashire to 344 for four on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Kent at Canterbury.
Vilas hit a buccaneering 124 from 158 balls and made a stand of 215 with Steven Croft, who himself produced a more measured 113 not out from 270 deliveries, leaving the visitors in a commanding position at stumps.
Nathan Gilchrist took two for 66 and Matt Milnes two for 68, but after a promising start the hosts struggled throughout the final two sessions, frustrating the majority of a crowd of 1003 at the St. Lawrence.
Lancashire won the toss and chose to bat in broad sunshine, but the light quickly deteriorated and after an opening stand of 36 the breakthrough came when Gilchrist replaced Jackson Bird at the Pavilion End. His second ball found George Balderson’s edge, but it was dropped by a fumbling Zak Crawley at second slip, who failed to grab it three times before parrying it to Jordan Cox at first slip. Although Cox somehow spilled the rebound, it was the shortest possible reprieve for Balderson, who was caught behind off the next ball for seven.
Luke Wells had looked fluent early on but he then fell for 39, toe-ending Gilchrist to Ollie Robinson. When Milnes subsequently trapped Josh Bohannon lbw for 19 Lancashire were wobbling on 80 for 3, but if Kent had arguably shaded the first session, the visitors dominated the second, adding 149 runs and barely offering a chance.
Vilas cut Hamid Qadri to square leg to bring up his fifty in the 46th over and Croft reached the same landmark three overs later when he hit Darren Stevens through the covers for four.
Having reached 229 for 3 at tea, Lancashire continued to pile on the runs, Vilas reaching his 100 when he glanced Qadri past the slips for four, before he was eventually removed by the new ball when he slashed Milnes to Ben Compton at gully.
Milnes gave a roar of delight, relief and quite possibly both, but it was a rare moment of joy for Kent, who also lost Qadri to a hand injury during the evening session.
Croft reached three figures when glanced Bird off his hip for four and remained unbeaten at the close alongside Lancashire debutant Phil Salt, who was unbeaten on 33 after an aggressive cameo late in the day.