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Essex head coach Anthony McGrath is hoping his side can go on to force a result against Kent, despite losing plenty of play to the weather at Canterbury.
The County Championship Division One leaders closed day two on 32-1 in reply to the home side's 226, having lost Nick Browne cheaply.
And McGrath admitted to a sense of frustration as play was cut short on Monday afternoon, saying: "It's been frustrating with the weather and I think it has surprised us all. We didn't realise we would have as much rain as we did and how heavy it has been and that's been frustrating for both teams.
"As for the cricket that has been played, I thought we bowled really well. After the new ball went softer, the pitch seemed to flatten out a fair bit and Kent put a good partnership on for the ninth wicket."
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Kent started the day on 125-6 after 53 overs of play on Sunday and were soon 138-8 as Mohammad Amir (4-48) and Sam Cook added to their hauls, before the tail wagged.
Harry Podmore (54 not out) and Matt Milnes (31) put on 65 for the ninth wicket before Ravi Bopara struck, with Cook (5-42) wrapping up the innings.
But Browne fell for six in the third over of Essex's reply before Sir Alastair Cook and Tom Westley saw out the remaining 46 minutes of play that was available.
McGrath added: "There are only two days left, so the plan is to bat as long as possible now. We have to get through that tricky patch in the morning and then hopefully make hay in the evening session.
"This pitch has been undercover for the best part of four days, it was always going to be slow and offer a little bit for the slower bowlers, who nibble it around a bit. It was always going to be difficult to score and that's how it's proved."