A century by Northamptonshire skipper Stephen Peters ensured honours are just about even at the mid-point of an absorbing LV= County Championship clash at Kent.
Peters enjoyed one mid-afternoon let off, but otherwise maintained intense concentration for 297 minutes to post his first hundred of the summer and help his side reach 303 in reply to Kent's first day total of 271.
The hosts reached six without loss at the close to trail by 26 runs going into day three.
Kent seamer Mark Davies was first to strike in the morning session, trapping his former Durham team-mate Kyle Coetzer lbw for six.
Just before lunch, David Sales, having ground 16 runs from 69 balls, then edged a push drive against Charlie Shreck into the gloves of Geraint Jones.
Kent bossed the mid-session, taking four wickets for 101 runs, but the situation might have been even rosier for the hosts had Jones held on to a regulation chance off Davies with Peters on 63.
As it was, Shreck had Alex Wakely caught behind for one when working to leg and then Andrew Hall, the former Kent all-rounder, fell leg before when shouldering arms for 12.
Jones snared another catch off the outside edge of James Middlebrook's bat to give Calum Haggett his first wicket, then Davies rushed one through the gate of David Murphy to pluck out leg stump via an inside edge.
Three balls after tea, David Willey drove hard at a full ball from Matt Coles to be caught behind for 25, but Peters marched on to his hundred in a shade over four and a half hours with 11 fours. It was his 21st first-class ton since joining Northamptonshire in 2006.
The right-hander perished soon after when Davies got his second delivery with the second new ball to lift and have the opener caught at short-midwicket by 12th man Alex Blake.
Blake was in the action again when taking a sitter from Trent Copeland at mid-on to give Shreck figures of 4-80, but Rob Newton, batting with Coetzer as a runner after picking up a groin strain, helped add a vital 43 for the last wicket to ease the visitors into a slender lead and to a third batting bonus point.
Coles ended their resistance by having Steven Crook caught at long-leg, again by the substitute fielder, with Crook contributing 62 from 74 balls before Kent openers Sam Northeast and Rob Key held out until the close.