In-form Stevens salvages Kent pride with an unbeaten 80 at The Nevill

Friday 4th June 2010

Darren Stevens hit 15 fours in his 83-ball, unbeaten innings.

Kent v Nottinghamshire LV= County Championship Division 1, Day 2 Tunbridge Wells
By Mark Pennell
Rob Key“s dogged half-century coupled with a contrasting 80 not out at almost a run-a-ball from Darren Stevens underpinned Kent“s shaky second day reply to Nottinghamshire“s 462 at a humid Tunbridge Wells.
Come Saturday“s close, Kent had reached 274 for five in reply and will go into the third day still trailing by 188 runs and requiring a further 39 to avoid following on.
The hosts, batting by 12.25pm having mopped up the last two Nottinghamshire wickets for an additional 69 runs, made a dismal start to their pursuit by losing Joe Denly to the very first ball but fought hard thereafter on a dry, slow pitch to garner two batting bonus points by stumps.
The England international opener, who scored nought and 149 here in 2008 and nought and 123 in the Royal Spa Town last season, continued the unwanted trend when he fenced at a Darren Pattinson leg-cutter to be caught by David Hussey at second slip.
Key and Geraint Jones (37) added 53 either side of the lunch break before Jones nicked a drive to second slip then, moments before tea, Martin van Jaarsveld (44) edged an attempted cut to be caught behind.
Two overs after the resumption Andre Adams rushed one through Sam Northeast“s back foot defensive push to send him packing for 12 then, having agonised for over three hours for his 56 from 156-balls, Key fell to make it 176 for five.
Sweeping against slow left-armer Samit Patel, the bowler“s initial shout for leg before was turned down but, once the ball ballooned via pad and bat to David Hussey at a wide slip, umpire Jeff Evans upheld a secondary appeal for the catch.
Stevens, Kent“s leading run-scorer with over 600 championship runs to his name so far this term, steadied the ship with a fluent 62-ball half-century which included 11 fours.
It was his sixth time passed 50 in four-day cricket this summer and by the close the former Leicestershire had taken his boundary count on to 15, having added 98 runs for the sixth wicket with James Tredwell (35*).
Nottinghamshire“s first innings lasted a further 21 overs into the second day allowing their skipper Chris Read to complete his second ton of the championship season from 165 balls and with seven balls and a brace of sixes.
He lost ninth-wicket partner Graeme White for a respectable 35 when he nicked to James Tredwell at first slip from Matt Coles“ third ball of the day from the Railway End.
Coles was soon replaced by Malinga Bandara who wrapped up the innings by having last man Pattinson caught at silly point by Denly off a looping bat-pad chance. Bandara finished with three for 125, Tredwell two for 120 and Simon Cook was the pick with four for 85.
Sadly, Amjad Khan was unable to take to the field having injured his hamstring in the final over of Friday“s play.
Kent“s physiotherapist Nimmo Reid blamed the Spitfires hectic schedule, the workload and travel for the injury.
Having come into this game after back-to-back Friends Provident t20 matches on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Reid said: “In basic terms Amjad is fitter than he has ever been. It“s ridiculous that we“ve been made to play the amount of games we have already.”