Durham edge toward victory as Kent lose their way in the mid-session

Tuesday 18th May 2010

Azhar Mahmood took the vital wicket of Michael Di Venuto

Kent v Durham LV= County Championship Division 1, Day three in Canterbury
By Mark Pennell
Durham moved to within 102 runs of a remarkable victory with seven wickets intact after a fluctuating third day that saw 17 wickets fall.
On a Canterbury pitch starting to show signs of uneven bounce, Durham lost their last four first innings wickets for 77 before dismissing Kent for 162 inside 50 overs to leave themselves 18 overs plus the entire final day to score 169 for victory.
In the 90 minutes through to the close Durham reached 67 for three after 18 overs as Kent did their best to make amends for a dismal second innings batting performance.
They sent back Kyle Coetzer (1) to a Makhaya Ntini off-cutter that moved through the gate to trim middle stump, then Michael di Venuto (10) needlessly pulled an Azhar Mahmood bumper into the hands of Amjad Khan at deep mid-wicket.
Just before stumps, Durham“s young left-hander Scott Borthwick (14) dragged an attempted pull against Amjad Khan onto his off stump but experienced duo Ian Blackwell (18) and Dale Benkenstein (24) survived without further alarm to strengthen their side“s hopes of knocking off the deficit.
Kent lost their way in the match by losing six wickets for 114 in the mid-session having worked hard to muster a first innings lead of six.
Skipper Rob Key (14) drove on the up to short extra-cover to make it 34 for one and, without addition, Joe Denly (20) was unfortunate to be given leg before when pushing outside the line of off stump.
Geraint Jones (17) under-edged an attempted cover drive onto the base of off stump against Chris Rushworth, then Sam Northeast regretted his attempts to rock back and aim through the covers when a shooting Ian Blackwell arm-ball hit off stump low down.
Top-scorer Martin van Jaarsveld (44) drove two feet outside off to edge a full ball from Steve Harmison to second slip and, to the last ball before tea, Azhar Mahmood played outside the line of another Blackwell arm ball to go leg before.
Kent“s slide gathered momentum when, six ball after the break, Rob Ferley (1) played across the line of a Scott Borthwick leg-spinner to drag onto off stump then Alex Blake (7) was bowled through the gate by left-arm spinner Blackwell after one turned out of the foot-holds.
Teenager Borthwick picked up a second when he had Simon Cook (5) caught at slip from one that grazed the outside edge of the bat and Phil Mustard“s right glove before going to first slip then last man Ntini was caught behind off Steve Harmison.
At the start of the day South African Test legend Makhaya Ntini bagged five for 84 – his first five-for return for Kent – as Durham were dismissed for 418.
Ben Stokes reached a career-best 161 not out but Ntini, bowling down the slope from the Nackington Road End, proved too much of a handful for the Durham tail-enders as Ben Harmison and Mitchell Claydon both edged drives to second slip.
Stokes should have gone to a catch at deep mid-wicket on 131 but Joe Denly was unable to hold on, but was left high and dry when Chris Rush sliced to point and Azhar Mahmood had last man Steve Harmison caught behind.
Kent are offering free admission to supporters on the fourth and final day of the match.