Day One Match Report: Shah puts Essex in charge

Wednesday 11th September 2013

Day One Match Report: Shah puts Essex in charge

Owais Shah scored a circumspect and unbeaten 83 to put Essex in control on the opening day of their LV= County Championship clash with Kent in Canterbury.

The 34-year-old batted for almost four hours in tricky conditions to post his best championship score of the summer as Essex reached 186 for four when bad light stopped play after 77.1 overs.

Having seen his side lose two early wickets Shah, who won the last of his six Test caps in 2009, dug in and hit only eight fours in his watchful 180-ball stay for his part in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Ben Foakes that frustrated the home attack by adding 69 in 23 overs.

With James Tredwell absent on England ODI duty, Geraint Jones – fresh from plotting Kent's second win of the season at Glamorgan last week – continued as acting captain and, after winning the toss, duly asked Essex to bat under leaden skies.

With the floodlights on from the start, Essex lost right-hander Jaik Mickleburgh without scoring to the third ball of the match when, in pushing defensively at one from Mark Davies, the opener popped a bat-pad chance to Daniel Bell-Drummond at forward short leg.

Darren Stevens replaced Charlie Shreck at the Pavilion End and struck with his seventh ball of the day to make it 19 for two when Greg Smith (15) edged an attempted drive to first slip.

Kent might have picked up a third wicket in the opening session when Shah, on seven, top-edged an attempted pull against Calum Haggett, only for Jones to spill a difficult diving catch on the run at fine leg.

Essex went in at lunch on 59 for two and had 74 on the board when Gautam Gambhir (36), driving loosely at Charlie Shreck, picked out Brendan Nash at cover.

Ryan ten Doeschate (11) helped take the total through to 117 before his rash decision to sweep at the first delivery of the day from off-spinner Adam Riley cost him dearly as he departed leg before.

Foakes teamed up with Shah for 23 overs thereafter, seemingly making light of the seamer- friendly conditions and bad light until umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Neil Mallender decided that the light was too poor to continue.

Though four of the five floodlights here were fully operational the officials, much to the chagrin of the supporters, took the players off the field and they never returned.

Click here for the ECB scorecard