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Glos v Kent: Honours even on day three

Wednesday 20th May 2015

Men’s First Team

Kent's bowlers battled back after Hamish Marshall and Geraint Jones rescued Gloucestershire and set up a potentially exciting final day at Bristol.

The hosts found themselves staring down the barrel of defeat inside three days as Darren Stevens and Ivan Thomas reduced them to 81 for four, shortly after lunch.

Former Kent wicketkeeper Jones added 134 with Marshall for the fifth wicket to give Gloucestershire the chance of winning a third successive LV= County Championship match.

Resuming on 223 for nine, Kent lost their last wicket when Adam Riley top-edged a pull shot, off the bowling of Liam Norwell, to wicket keeper Gareth Roderick.

On a wicket that provided the bowlers with a degree of encouragement, Gloucestershire batted well in the early stages of their second innings.

Openers Chris Dent and Roderick put on 59 for the first wicket with both batsmen looking set for the day.

However, the introduction of Darren Stevens turned the game back in Kent's favour as Gloucestershire lost four wickets for just 22 runs in 9.3 overs either side of lunch.

Dent, who struck three boundaries in his 48-ball stay at the crease, was first to go, when he played on to a regulation delivery from Stevens. Eight runs later, off the final ball of the morning session, Ian Cockbain became victim number two for Stevens, leaving them on 67 for two.

If the final throes of the morning session were disappointing for Gloucestershire, the early stages of the afternoon session were equally as frustrating.

First, overseas pro Peter Handscomb flashed at a short and wide delivery from Thomas and was duly caught by wicket keeper Sam Billings for five. Then, Roderick departed in similar fashion, caught at slip by Stevens, once again off the bowling of Thomas for 47.

Gloucestershire's middle order fought back with Marshall passing 50 off 84 balls, while Jones, who signed a two-year contract in the winter, reached his half century off 93 balls, with six fours.

Marshall eventually holed out to Fabian Cowdrey at backward point off the bowling of Matt Coles, for 83, before Kieran Noema-Barnett departed without scoring and Jones went for 55, trapped lbw by Thomas.

Craig Miles and David Payne put on 36 for the eighth wicket as Gloucestershire finished the day on 282 for nine, leading by 240 with a second innings wicket in hand when they resume the final day's play.

Kent seamer Thomas said: "We started well with the ball and then there was a bit of a lapse in the middle when the ball stopped doing anything off the pitch or in the air. We needed to grind away and we managed to get those two important wickets.

"I think we are in a great spot to start tomorrow. We bowled well enough to bowl them out today, but I think we can polish things off pretty quickly tomorrow and that puts us in a really good position.

"The pitch is flattening out, it's going to be a sunny day according to the forecast and if anything, it is in our favour."

Gloucestershire's Marshall said: "We have to battle today and we lost some wickets at crucial times. However, we had one good partnership and that has set us up nicely. There was also some good batting from the tail too which is always important.

"Tomorrow's a big day. We've got 240 on the board already and who knows there might be a few more in the morning. I think we are pretty happy with our position.

"Personally I am making some runs at the moment and I was told when I came off the pitch that I had gone through 13,000 runs. But I don't want to get ahead of myself and I would swap that record for a win tomorrow."

Click here for the scorecard