While wickets fell at a stedy rate down the other end, the 21-year-old opener who was educated only four miles away at Tonbridge School, held firm to see Kent in at tea on 236 for eight.
After the home side had lost five wickets in the morning session, Crawley bad farewell to his sixth-wicket partner Wiaan Mulder soon after lunch, leg before to James Pattinson for 13.
Crawley dug in thereafter to post a century stand with Grant Stewart that took the hosts to their first batting bonus point. Stewart reached a half-century from 69 balls with four fours and a six, while Crawley reached three figures from 157 balls and with 14 boundaries.
Soon after, Stewart’s valuable stay ended when he missed an attempted straight drive to be bowled by Pattinson, who then snared Kent debutant Ollie Rayner leg before for a golden duck to give the Australia Test bowler figures of five for 62.