Stevens takes 50th wicket at Bristol

Stevens takes 50th wicket at Bristol

All-rounder Darren Stevens celebrated his 50th wicket in this summer’s Specsavers County Championship on day one against Gloucestershire at Bristol.

After Kent declined the toss to bowl first on a greenish pitch, the Kent attack was frustrated by the hosts’ openers Cameron Bancroft and Chris Dent in a wicketless first session before the visitors fought back in the afternoon.

Joe Denly struck twice after lunch, trapping Dent LBW for 59 before removing rookie James Bracey in the same manner for 12.

Mitch Claydon followed up a prolific trip to Durham with another wicket as Gareth Roderick drove him to Zak Crawley, who held a superb low catch at mid-wicket.

The second new ball paid quick dividends for Kent’s new-ball duo in successive overs: Stevens trapped George Hankins LBW for 16 before Phil Mustard cut Adam Milne to Stevens at first slip without scoring.

Australian opener Bancroft held firm despite a couple of confident leg-before appeals from Darren Stevens to end the day unbeaten on 124, alongside Jack Taylor (12*) with the score on 242 for five.

Kent head coach Matt Walker said: “We thought there would be a little bit in the pitch this morning, but it turned out to be a tough day. We applied pressure at times, but overall, we just lacked that little bit of intensity.

“You have to say Gloucestershire batted well and Dent and Bancroft gave them an excellent start. We felt we might have got him out early on, but Bancroft played a fine innings once he got his eye in.

“It’s about reacting in the right way and taking responsibility when things are difficult and I thought the bowlers stuck to their task. They came back well in the final session and put us back in the game.”