GRAHAM ONIONS' best figures for two years stepped up Durham's recovery against Kent yesterday and left him one short of Simon Brown's record of 518 first-class wickets for the county.

Three days before his 35th birthday, there were signs of the vintage Onions as he took six for 62 to dismiss Kent for 206 and Durham stretched their lead of 11 by reaching 57 for two in their second innings.

In an enthralling day's cricket they twice bounced back off the ropes with Mark Wood and James Weighell sharing a stand of 106 in the morning after coming togther at 77 for seven.

Wood followed his career-best 72 not out with three for 48, taking two wickets in the first five balls after tea to spark Kent's slump from 134 for three to 147 for seven.

More than half their runs were scored by skipper Sam Northeast, who showed his stroke-playing prowess in scoring 110 off 115 balls before he was last out.

Whether it is necessary to start at 10.30 in September when floodlights are available is a moot point and batting was certainly at its trickiest in the first half hour when Durham resumed on 61 for four.

Adam Milne beat Michael Richardson with the day's first two balls and had him caught low down at first slip with the fourth.

Ryan Pringle made eight before deflecting a ball from Milne into his off bail when trying to leave it.

After 20 minutes Graham Clark had not added to his overnight six when his otherwise immaculate forward defensive was breached by a ball from Darren Stevens which trimmed his off bail.

Wood was missed on eight by Sean Dickson at second slip off Milne and celebrated by hitting successive balls from Stevens for four, four, three with a cut, cover drive and clip to mid-wicket.

Both he and Weighell hit nine fours in reaching 50 off 64 and 69 balls respectively with the Stokesley left-hander producing a blend of bold and classy strokes in his 55.

He departed when a fierce pull off Mitch Claydon flew straight to mid-wicket, and the ex-Durham man also removed the last two to finish with five for 54.

Onions was on the mark from the outset, pinning Dickson lbw then beating Joe Denly's forward defensive push with a snorter which plucked out the off stump.

Northeast went in at 14 for two and got off the mark with an edged four when trying to withdraw his bat. But he sped to 50 off 45 balls and would have expected his team to press on from 134 for three at tea.

But they lost five wickets for 13 runs, starting when Zak Crawley was lbw to one from Wood which looked a little high. Three balls later Stevens hung out his bat and edged behind.

Left-hander Calum Haggett pushed limply down the wrong line to have off and middle rattled by Onions and the surrender continued as Adam Milne edged a lavish drive.

Sam Billings, suffering from a migraine, went in at 147 for seven and departed first ball, having his leg bail trimmed when aiming for mid-wicket.

Claydon clubbed three fours in contributing 16 to a stand of 28 before driving to deep mid-off to give Onions his sixth wicket.

On 81 when last man Imran Qayyum joined him, Northeast farmed the strike and cut Wood over backward point for six on the way to his 102-ball century, which included 17 fours.

He finally fell when he edged a forcing back-foot shot off Weighell to give wicketkeeper Michael Richardson his third catch.

Kent emerged with Bell-Drummond behind the stumps instead of Billings and he accepted the catch which removed Keaton Jennings for 13.

It continues to be hard work for Jennings, but he survived until the 15th over and put on 35 with Tom Latham, who remained unbeaten on 27.