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Berg leads Middlesex fightback as Kent struggle with bat and ball

Wednesday 5th August 2009

Rob Key fell for a second-ball duck after a mistimed pull shot

Kent v Middlesex, LV County Championship, Division 2 day two, Canterbury.
By Mark Pennell
KENT face an uphill task if they are to land a Canterbury Cricket Week win over Middlesex having been set a victory target of 335 after two action-packed days at St Lawrence.
Rob Key“s side chipped away to dismiss struggling Middlesex for a respectable 320 second time around as Gareth Berg (98) and Chris Silverwood with a rapid run-a-ball 46 kept Kent in the field until just after 5pm.
James Tredwell took four of the last five wickets to fall to finish with 5 for 100, but Kent“s reply started disastrously as they lost Key and Geraint Jones in the 20 overs through to stumps to reach the mid-point of the match on 49 for two.
Key miscued his second ball from Steve Finn to mid-on to go without scoring then Geraint Jones (16) aimed an ambitious drive against Silverwood only to edge to Eoin Morgan at slip.
Joe Denly (24) and Martin van Jaarsveld (7) survived thereafter, but with another 286 runs required for victory the odds on a home victory have undoubtedly lengthened.
In easing conditions Middlesex batted on for 93 overs against a Kent attack that struggled with a softer ball and in the high temperatures.
The luckless Gareth Berg missed out on a maiden first-class hundred by two runs after being dismissed just before tea when his push drive at Tredwell flew to slip where Justin Kemp shot out a hand to claim a great catch.
Berg had cantered to a 59-ball half-century and then to a career-best, but lost sixth-wicket partner Dawid Malan (49) in the 72nd over when the left-hander leant back attempting a cut against Tredwell only to edge to Jones and end a stand of 92 in 24 overs.
Eight overs later Murali Kartik drove lamely to Amjad Khan at mid-on to give Tredwell a second scalp, which soon became three when, in the off-spinner“s next over, Berg“s push drive flew wide of slip where Justin Kemp pushed out a left hand to take a sharp catch that ended Berg“s 101-ball stay for 98 with 13 fours.
That catch was bettered after tea when Tredwell ended Silverwood“s cameo stay to a lofted drive catch a log-off. On the run, fielder Denly took a stunning, one-handed over the shoulder catch and somehow managed to stop his momentum from taking him over the ropes by dropping onto his knees.
Sportingly, Silverwood applauded the catch as he went off and the innings ended in the Tredwell“s next over when Azhar Mahmood trapped Steve Finn leg before for nought.
Before lunch Mahmood and Amjad Khan bagged two wickets each in taking their individual match tally“s to five apiece.
Resuming on a scorching hot morning on their overnight score of 50 for one, Middlesex suffered their first casualty of the day to the seventh ball of the session and the first of the day from Mahmood who switched ends to have opener Sam Robson (3) caught behind.
In his next over Mahmood had a concerted appeal for another catch at the wicket turned down against Owais Shah who, two balls later and without addition to his 16, edged to slip where Kemp took the catch to send him packing.
Middlesex re-grouped somewhat with a 50 stand for their fourth wicket through Morgan (30) and Malan but their resistance ended when Khan plucked out Morgan“s leg stump with a full-length ball.
Five balls later Khan was celebrating again when Ben Scott (0) drove without moving his feet and edged to second slip where Martin van Jaarsveld took a sharp, throat-high catch.

Photo by ARPics