Warwickshire may have brushed past a weak Gloucestershire, but they can expect a far tougher challenge over the next few days at Edgbaston.
Kent are sure to be among the strongest challengers for Warwickshire's title this year. They showed earlier this season at Canterbury, when they came within an ace of beating the champions, that they are a highly dangerous team. They currently sit third in the table; the only unbeaten side in the division.
It is a measure of the importance of that last day rearguard at Canterbury, that had Kent won they would now lead the Championship by half a point from Warwickshire.
Kent's batting remains impressively strong. Rob Key is almost England's forgotten man, such is the clamour for Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen, but the Kent opener remains a fine player, with legitimate hopes of reviving his Test career. Martin van Jaarsveld also looked to have the measure of Warwickshire's attack in taking centuries off them in both innings at Canterbury.
The Bears look a far better side now than they did in April when Kent came so close to beating them. Jonathan Trott, who hit a century at the weekend, and Heath Streak, who took his 50th first-class wicket for Warwickshire in his fourth five-wicket haul for the club, are both back in top form.
Warwickshire's batting line-up pretty much picks itself at present; often a good sign. Mark Wagh is still at least a week away from another return (one could be forgiven for a sense of deja vu when reading that), while the club have resisted the temptation of recalling Ian Westwood to open the innings. He may well have another chance before long; this is likely to be Bell's last Championship game until late September.
There is also another chance for swing bowler Nick Warren. Warren is a better bowler than he has shown of late, but knows that he does not have limitless opportunities to impress. He had a poor game at Gloucester, struggling with his line as a consequence.
But the club decided many months ago that they were going to give young talent its chance to shine, so it's only reasonable to stick with the 22-year-old. Indeed, in retrospect, it might have been better for his development and confidence not to drop him after the Kent game; it is a truism of cricket that bowlers are afforded less patience in such matters that batsmen.
Dewald Pretorius, back to fitness, misses out. After a season and a half at the club he has taken 29 first-class wickets at 39.2 apiece; a bitterly disappointing return for one so naturally gifted. No one is more frustrated by his lack of progress than the bowler himself, but though there are reasons aplenty for his poor returns, many of them perfectly legitimate, Pretorius has a point to prove in the second half of the season.
This game marks the halfway stage of the Championship season and prefaces a month-long break as Twenty20 takes centre stage. It has been more than six weeks since Warwickshire contested a Championship match at Edgbaston and it will be almost six more before they return. Stratford was charming, but it's good to be home.
Meanwhile Warwickshire won their first Second XI Trophy game of the season, edging past Glamorgan by 13 runs in Neath in a match notable for the return to action of Ashley Giles. England's premier spinner scored 21 runs and took one for 32 from ten overs. If there is no reaction to his exertions, Giles will play in Sunday's totesport League game against Leicestershire at Edgbaston.
WARWICKSHIRE: N Knight (capt), M Powell, I Bell, J Trott, A Loudon, J Troughton, D Brown, T Frost (wkt), H Streak, N Carter, N Warren. KENT: D Fulton (capt), R Key, M van Jaarsveld, M Walker, D Stevens, J Kemp, A Hall, N O'Brien (wkt), S Cook, M Patel, A Khan. 12th man: J Tredwell.