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Jones ‘the bat’ hits career-best as Kent bag four batting bonus points

Wednesday 4th August 2010

Geraint Jones cracked 24 fours and three sixes in his five and a half hour stay

Kent v Somerset LV= County Championship Division One, Day three at Canterbury

By Mark Pennell

A stunning career-best 178 from Geraint Jones helped Kent snatch the initiative in this intriguing Canterbury Week clash at St Lawrence.
Jones plundered 114 in boundaries to take his side to within eight runs of Somerset“s first innings total of 380 before becoming last man out in Kent“s first innings 372 as the host“s all but made the match safe.
Batting again by 2.45pm, Somerset reached the tea interval without alarm only to lose three wickets in the last session, all to off-spinner James Tredwell.
Arul Suppiah (28) missed a pull shot to go leg before, Zander de Bruyn (14) reverse swept to backward point, then Jos Butler (0) slog swept his second delivery high to square leg to make it 94 for three.
Marcus Trescothick (61*) and James Hildreth (27*) re-grouped thereafter to see the visitors through to stumps on 138 for an overall lead of 146 going into the final day.
Thursday started with Kent resuming on 175 for three and much in need of a big innings – Jones provided it.
They suffered their first loss of the day in the third over when Martin van Jaarsveld fell for 71 having only added a single to his overnight score.
In attempting to work to leg the vice-captain went leg before to Ben Phillips to end a fourth-wicket stand with Jones that added 129 in 38.2 overs.
Jones, who posted a patient half-century from 100 balls, then teamed up with Darren Stevens to add 55 inside 20 overs and take their side past the follow-on figure before Stevens went for a typically attractive 33 with five fours. Driving hard straight back at bowler Peter Trego, he stood amazed when the ex-Kent all-rounder took off to his left to claim a stunning one-handed return catch.
His replacement Tredwell was fortunate to get off the mark when he nicked Trego between keeper Craig Kieswetter and first slip Trescothick for four to third man but, with only seven against his name he prodded forward to Murali Kartik to offer a bat-pad catch to Jos Butler under the helmet at short leg to make it 254 for six.
Somerset took the second new ball through Charl Willoughby after 80 overs and made their next breakthrough within six deliveries when Azhar Mahmood went for a five-ball duck. Thrusting late with bat and pad together, he played down the wrong line to an in-swinger to go leg before.
Then, to the last ball before lunch, Malinga Bandara fell without scoring. Attempting to cut against Phillips, the Sri Lankan was caught by Trego diving to his right in the gully and clinging on to another dramatic effort.
Soon after the break Jones reached his second hundred of the season with a single to third man from 194 balls and with 12 boundaries. It took him almost four and a half hours.
The right-hander farmed the strike with ninth-wicket partner Amjad Khan to ensure Kent reached 300 for a third batting bonus point and then went gung-ho for his shots to sprint to his 150 with a magnificent lofted cover drive against Kartik that cleared the ropes by a good 20 yards.
With 350 in the bag for a fourth batting point, Khan fell in the same over, hit on the boot and lbw to a Kartik yorker, but his 11 had contributed to an entertaining stand that added 90 in 13.5.
Jones bettered his career best of 156 by clubbing two through mid-off against Alfonso Thomas beating his innings against Surrey here last season, and celebrated by hitting a second six over the Band of Brothers marquee at long-on.
He lost the ball with a six over long-off as 22 came off the 97th over from Thomas and had taken Kent to within eight of the Somerset total before he went leg-before to a Thomas yorker to end his five-and-a-half hour stay.
Phillips finished as pick of the attack with five for 72, his best championship figures since 1997 when playing for Kent.