Hampshire are on course to complete a vital LV County Championship win against Kent after an outstanding weekend in Canterbury.

Chris Wood, in his first Championship match of the season following knee surgery, took 5-39 on Saturday, following his 85-ball 61 as Kent were bowled out for a first-innings 191.

Having set their hosts a mammoth victory target of 501 runs, Hampshire dodged the rain showers to reduce Kent to 95-2, after 33 overs of their second innings, by the end of the penultimate day.

Kent lost Rob Key (five) lbw to former team-mate Matt Coles then, after a second-wicket stand of 70, left-hander Ben Harmison (38) clipped lazily to short mid-wicket off the slow bowling of Danny Briggs.

Nightwatchman Adam Riley survived a concerted appeal for a catch behind from Coles' final ball of the day, but Hampshire will be confident of getting the eight wickets they need today.

Kent need a further 406 for an unlikely fourth successive win after the third day of the 163rd Canterbury Cricket Week clash. After resuming their second innings on 57-0, Hampshire continued to hammer home their advantage with former Kent batsman Michael Carberry and skipper Jimmy Adams - both unbeaten on 26 overnight - capitalising against a weary and disillusioned Kent attack to add a further 122 to their first-wicket stand.

The two left-handers reached their half-centuries from 133 balls apiece, Adams with six fours, while Carberry reached the milestone in style by pulling Riley over the mid-wicket ropes to go with his five boundaries.

Doug Bollinger, making his final four-day appearance for Kent before returning for Big Bash duty with the Hobart Hurricanes, strived for a breakthrough.

But only heavy rain could stop Hampshire’s openers in their tracks as the players took an early lunch with the visitors on 136.

They marched on to 179 before the introduction of off-spinner Riley gave a modest crowd the breakthrough they craved.

Carberry had reached 81 from 182 balls when, in trying to hit Riley out of the park, picked out Harmison at long-off instead.

Only 19 runs later, Adams - who was just three short of a deserved first century of the campaign - was comprehensively bowled when aiming to work to leg against Riley.

Will Smith and James Vince accelerated the run-rate with a brisk 37-run stand before rain arrived for a second downpour which forced the players off for an early tea with Hampshire 422 runs ahead.

After the resumption, Hampshire's quest for quick runs led to the loss of three quick wickets, all to the rookie left-arm wrist spin of Fabian Cowdrey who bagged his maiden championship scalp during a stint of three for 59.

Smith’s unbeaten 74 from only 61 balls, his second fifty of the match, took him to within 45 runs of reaching 1,000 for the first time.

Having allowed time for the outfield to dry out, Adams finally declared with his side on 311 for five to leave Kent with a mountain to climb.

Essex and Surrey are also likely to win today but assuming Hampshire clinch their fifth win of the season they will boost their promotion chances by extending their lead over Kent, who have a game in hand, to 41 points.