Kent v Worcestershire
LV= CC Division Two
17 May – 20 May 2013, 11am start
St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury
After a successful start to their Yorkshire Bank 40 qualification bid, Kent return to LV= County Championship action by welcoming Worcestershire to the St Lawrence Ground as James Tredwell’s men look for their first four-day victory of the season.
The season so far:
The two teams occupy the bottom two places in division two, but despite the early exchanges both will look to be in the promotion mix by the end of the season.
After drawing their opening two games against Lancashire and Leicestershire, Kent succumbed to their first defeat of the season against Northamptonshire. The early division two pacesetters claimed victory by seven wickets after Aussie paceman Trent Copeland claimed match figures of 10-113.
Kent’s downfall was being dismissed for just 135 in their second innings. Bright spots for the hosts from the encounter were first innings runs from Michael Powell (70) and Daniel Bell-Drummond (68) followed by four wickets for seamer Charlie Shreck. Tredwell will be hoping three wins out of four in YB40 cricket will spur his side on in the longer form of the game.
Worcestershire were relegated from division one last season and have found it tough going in the second tier. The Pears drew with Lancashire in their season opener but two heavy defeats against Glamorgan and Hampshire soon followed. Last time out they were held to a rain-affected draw against Leicestershire at New Road. Sri Lanka overseas batsman Thilan Samaraweera scored his maiden century for the county as the home side posted 320-7 batting first. The Foxes led by Ned Eckersley’s ton replied with 379-8 as a draw was ensured when Worcestershire reached 61-1 in their second innings. Left-arm spinner Shaaiq Choudhry returned 4-111
Kent haven’t hosted Worcestershire in four-day cricket since 2007 when rain again proved to be the winner at the St Lawrence Ground. That day the home side fielded the likes of Matt Walker, Ryan McLaren, Martin Saggers and Lasith Malinga. The atrocious weather wiped out both first innings before centuries by Rob Key and Martin van Jaarsveld allowed Kent to set the visitors a victory target of 294. However before Worcestershire were able to launch a real attempt at winning the game, the rain and Saggers (3-37) meant they could only reach 110-3 off 21 overs as a draw was the inevitable result.
The two sides have met 68 times in the Garden of England, in four-day cricket, with Kent proving dominant - claiming victory 37 times, compared to Worcestershire’s 11 successes.
Players to watch:
Kent pace bowler Matt Coles has had a quiet time with the ball in LV= CC cricket so far this season but wickets in the YB40 competition could have bowled him back into form at the right time. Coles possesses the raw aggression that compliments seam bowlers Shreck and Mark Davies, proving him to be a danger on his day.
Worcestershire’s overseas capture of Sri Lankan Thilan Samaraweera is as shrewd as they come. The 36 year-olds’ stats speak for themselves having scored over 15,000 first-class runs at an average of nearly fifty. His 81 Test-match caps have yielded another 5,462 runs at 48.76, making him a prolific run-maker in the middle-order and at division two level he could should score heavily.
Kent beat Worcestershire by three-wickets in YB40 cricket yesterday largely thanks to skipper James Tredwell. The left-hander scored an unbeaten 42 to see the Spitfires to their modest target of 111 but was quick to play down his so called ‘captain’s knock’:
“I'm not sure you can call it that. Do they truly exist? I knew what I needed to do. I had to score runs so I just decided that I needed to play aggressively. I'm not sure it was a difficult situation. Jonesy (Geraint Jones) and I just decided to take it to them and it came off.”
Tredwell came in with Kent faltering on 45 for six, on a tough St Lawrence wicket, but his application saw the hosts home, to leave them second in Group A:
“I guess it did make it difficult for both sides. We nipped a few out early on and they did the same. I'm not sure if the moisture came up or dropped down but runs were hard to come by. Still, we took the bull by the horns and it came off. It's still early days and there are lots of games to go but we have started the group stage pretty well. We would have taken winning three out of four at the start of the competition. Already we've had a couple of really tough games so our points return is no mean feat.”
The match was a tough test so early in Tredwell’s regime but he was happy to see his side home and was particularly pleased with the fielding on show:
“Just getting over the line really pleased me the most. We could have buckled and been bowled out for 70 but we stuck to the task and got a great win. I think a trait in all of our games has been the fielding. We took two tremendous catches last night but, on top of that, we made numerous diving stops and things like that are crucial. It takes pressure off us and puts it on the opposition.”
Kent were disappointing in their last LV= CC outing but Tredwell is backing his troops to bounce back against a Worcestershire side who they haven’t played much in recent times:
“We are looking forward to getting back into Championship cricket. We didn't play anywhere near as well as we can in our last game but we're in a good place mentally after our performances in the YB40. The Northants defeat is out of our systems and we are all looking forward to getting back out there. We have missed each other (Worcestershire) in recent seasons. We've either been in different divisions in the Championship or not been drawn against each other in the 40-over competition. We know that they are a good side with some quality players in their ranks. As always, it will be a case of putting out our a-game if we want to win.”
Kent have named a 12-man squad for the match with Ben Harmison coming into contention as Daniel Bell-Drummond has a side strain.
Kent: Tredwell (c), Key, Northeast, Nash, Powell, Stevens, Harmison, Jones, Coles, Davies, Shreck, Haggett.
Photo: Sarah Ansell