LV County Championship - Division One
Canterbury - Day Four
Kent 327 (M J Walker 142) & 419-6 dec (R W T Key 182, M J Walker 157) v Lancashire 317 (G Chapple 88, S G Law 66, M J Chilton 53, M J Saggers 5-43) & 208-3 (P J Horton 69, S J Croft 59 no)
Kent (10pts) drew with Lancashire (10pts)
Lancashire were left frustrated as Kent did enough in their second innings to claim a share of the spoils at Canterbury and some much-needed points in their fight against relegation.
Starting the day with a lead of 344 runs on 334-2, Kent added just a further 85 runs before declaring on 419-6, with over night centurions Key and Walker going for 182 and 157 respectively.
Set an unlikely victory target of 430 to win, Lancashire seemingly decided early on that nothing better than a draw was possible as they crawled to 150-2 by tea.
Paul Horton made 69 while Stuart Law retired hurt after just 18 balls as the game ended in a draw with Lancashire on 208-3, with both sides netting ten points apiece - a result which seems to have ruled Lancs out of the title race.
Lancashire's Division One title hopes took a serious dent, as Kent established a 344-run lead at the end of day three.
Muttiah Muralitharan's bicep strain prevented him from batting and bowling, and Martin Saggers took little time dismissing Sajid Mahmood to complete his five-wicket haul in the morning.
The visitors then seized the initiative after losing James Tredwell (three) and Martin van Jaarsveld (28) early.
Without the option of their Sri Lankan spinning great the Lancashire attack struggled, while Robert Key led by example for Kent with a superb unbeaten century.
Matt Walker also hit his second century of the match as the visitors took full control of the match.Day Two
Glen Chapple smashed five sixes during an innings of 88 that allowed Lancashire to edge towards first-innings parity against Kent.
Number seven Chapple scored his runs from just 81 balls to leave Lancashire at 316-8, 11 runs behind, at the close of the second day in Canterbury.
Mark Chilton (53) and Stuart Law (66) also contributed half-centuries, while Kent seamer Martin Saggers led the home attack admirably with 4-43 from 25 overs.
Earlier, Kent added just seven runs to their overnight position of 320-7 with Matt Walker eighth out for 142.
Lancashire's hopes of forcing victory on the final two days suffered a blow with the news that off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is unlikely to bowl in the second innings.
Muralitharan injured his bowling arm on Tuesday, and Lancashire's cricket manager Mike Watkinson said a scan revealed a bicep strain.
"He's been and had a scan today - and he's got a strain in his bicep," said Watkinson. "We'll just have to see how that settles down.
"We are waiting for the radiologist to report on it - and then we'll see how we go.
"I think we have to take a sensible approach; if there's considerable risk of doing further damage then we may have to say 'the rest of you guys, get out there and do it'."
Muralitharan was already scheduled to leave Lancashire on Saturday to join up with Sri Lanka ahead of the Twenty20 World Championship.
Matt Walker held Kent's first innings together against Lancashire as he fired a superb unbeaten century to drag the hosts to 320-7 at the end of the first day.
Two early wickets in two balls from Glen Chapple, followed by skipper Robert Key being dismissed saw Kent struggling at 50-3.
However, Walker put on 123 runs for the fourth wicket with Neil Dexter to help steer the Kent innings out of danger.
Walker ended the day on 139 not out after facing 262 balls and hitting 20 fours and one six as he frustrated Lancashire's hopes of bowling the hosts out cheaply.