Feroze Khushi’s 164 was the highlight of day two at the county championships in Canterbury, where Essex posted 573 before reducing Kent to 74-4 in reply.
Khushi’s maiden first-class century came off 228 balls and included two sixes and 18 fours while Matt Critchley scored 90 and Ben Allison 53.
Sam Cooke and Jamie Porter then claimed 2-14 and 2-30 respectively against a Kent side already hampered by injuries to captain Sam Billings and Matt Mullins.
Jake Lanning and Jordan Cox were not out on 19 and one when the umpires gave the players six overs due to poor light.
The game opened in autumnal conditions at the Spitfire ground and although Khushi hit the first ball of the day through midwicket from Grant Stewart for four to bring up his half-century, a sad hour ensued.
The contest came alive when Daniel Bell-Drummond, bowling as Mullins was struggling with a back problem, had Critchley caught by Ollie Robinson, who was keeping wicket as Billings picked up a back injury on the first day. was
A possibly underused Bale Drummond then removed Adam Rossington, caught by substitute fielder Hamid Qadri at Cow corner for six, and Harry Podmore had Shane Snitter caught by Matt Quinn for 11, but Essex eased back into the torpor as they slowly progressed to 408-7. at lunch.
Khushi reached three figures 40 minutes after the restart, cutting Danley at backward point and leaping into the air to complete a single, before removing his helmet and kissing the St Lawrence wicket.
As Essex went through the gears, Ellison reached 50 with four straight fours off the same bowler but after surpassing his previous highest first-class score of 52, he was bowled at middle stump by Denly.
Khushi put Essex past 500 with a six over Denly’s head and a quick 69 for the ninth wicket with Cook, who made 38 before dismissing Denly and another on the boundary by substitute Joey Avison. Caught.
The innings ended when Khushi mis-driven at Podmore and was caught by Lanning, who held the catch despite colliding with Stewart.
Kent’s reply began with a questionable hook shot from Robinson that missed just two fielders but Ben Compton had only made two when Porter bowled him behind his legs, sending him flying off leg stump.
Robinson then cracked Porter to Allison at the point and he was out for 14, and Bale Drummond fell to a great catch by wicketkeeper Rossington off Cook for 18.
Denly bowled 45 balls before having Cook caught for 11 but play was officially abandoned at 17:27 BST, to boos from the home supporters.