Dent ended the day 104 not out as Gloucestershire lost only two wickets in the day, ending 267-2 with Will Tavare and Gareth Roderick also making half centuries as Northants bowlers offered little threat of forcing victory.
Resuming 35-0, Gloucestershire never serious threatened to attempt to chase the victory target of 454, but on a placid final day pitch at Wantage Road, Dent’s patient innings ensured his side batted out the day with comfort.
The 24-year-old batted for six hours and two minutes and faced 285 balls for his sixth first-class century, and his first in the County Championship since Gloucestershire’s last meeting with Northants at Bristol in August 2013.
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His only scares in the marathon innings came on 99, when he survived a big appeal for a catch at cover, umpire Peter Hartley ruling the ball had come off his helmet, and was almost run out the following ball attempting a single that was never on, before completing his century with another quick single.
Starting the day requiring ten wickets to win, Northants would have fancied their chances of forcing a first Championship victory since 2013, but Dent and Tavare looked at ease throughout the morning, the only chance of note coming when Tavare miscued a pull just wide of Rob Keogh at midwicket.
The pair reached their half centuries off successive overs and looked set to bat through the session, only for Tavare to be bowled by Mohammed Azharullah for 66 shortly before lunch.
The breakthrough wouldn’t derail the visitors though as Roderick joined Dent in continuing the serene progress after lunch. Roderick had made 56 in the first innings and after a slow start, looked in good touch once more, hitting seven boundaries in completing a second half century of the match.
The pair added 81 in 30 overs during the afternoon as Gloucestershire decided on the safe approach, Dent in particularly batting in determined fashion to add 21 runs in the session. However just as in the morning, a wicket fell shortly before an interval as Roderick as trapped LBW by Rob Keogh.
Northants took the new ball four overs into the evening session, but Dent and Peter Handscombe ensured there would be no late wobbles for the visitors against a tired looking hosts attack.
After five and a half hours of assured batting, Dent suddenly looked shaky upon reaching 99, but survived a quick single to bring up three figures ten minutes before the sides shook hands on the draw, Northants taking 11 points to Gloucestershire’s 10.