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Kent lose both openers in late Nevill drama

Monday 15th June 2009

Robbie Joseph claimed 2-21 in his eight overs before lunch, but later hobbled off with a groin problem

Kent v Essex LV County Championship, Tunbridge Wells
By Mark Pennell
KENT lost both their opening batsmen in the space of four deliveries in making disastrous reply to the Essex first day total of 280 all out in sunny Tunbridge Wells.
Needing only to survive the three remaining overs of this the first day of four, Kent went in at stumps wobbling on four for two having lost Rob Key and Joe Denly, both without scoring.
Denly went leg before to the fourth ball of the innings when he was caught on the crease by a full ball from David Masters then, in the very next over, Key lunged half-forward and across the line to Graham Napier“s first ball of the game to also go lbw.
Night watchman Amjad Khan and Geraint Jones survived the 11 balls through to stumps but at four for two Kent will go into Wednesday still trailing by 276.
Having been robbed of their most potent bowler Robbie Joseph, who limped off in the mid-session with a groin problem, Kent did reasonably well to eventually dismiss Essex for 280 some quarter of an hour before the close.
Having taken three wickets in the morning session, two of them to Joseph in an eight-over sting of two for 21, Kent bagged two more scalps in the mid-session and appeared well on top.
The first Essex casualty after lunch was former Kent favourite Matt Walker who, after featuring in a fourth-wicket stand worth 52 in 19 overs, fell leg-before for 41.
Though seemingly well down the pitch when working to leg umpire Nick Cook upheld Simon Cook“s leg before decision to make it 90 for four.
Mark Pettini, after posting a 117-ball 50 – his first in championship cricket this summer – then fenced at one from Justin Kemp that bounced a little to find the edge and fly to James Tredwell at second slip and make it 133-5.
After tea James Foster, fresh from England duty, played across the line to go leg before to James Tredwell for 36, but it was the second new ball that helped Kent and Ryan McLaren most.
The South African claimed three wickets in as many overs by having Ryan ten Doeschate (40) caught behind off a leg-cutter, Chris Wright (0) caught at slip when slashing at a wide one then David Masters, bowled around his legs via the thigh pad when trying to flick leg-side.
Kent would have hopes to have polished off the tail quickly thereafter, but Napier hit out lustily to finish unbeaten with 64 from 68 balls while Danish Kaneria added 12 for his part in a last wicket stand worth 46.
Before lunch Kent, fielding first after Essex won the toss and elected to bat, made their first breakthrough in the third over of the day when Amjad Khan struck with only his 10th ball of the game and of the season.
Fully fit again after shaking off persistent knee problems and swelling at the back of the joint, Khan bowled with decent pace despite a very slow pitch which is being used for county cricket for the first time here at The Nevill Ground.
Bowling from the Pavilion End Khan took the scalp of Jason Gallian for one, bowled via an inside edge as he attempted a back-foot force through the covers to make it four for one.
Seven overs later, England opener Alistair Cook, having just hit the first boundary of the day off Robbie Joseph, then went back to one that kept slightly low from the Railway End to catch the left-hander plum in front playing no stroke to leave umpire John Steele with a simple leg-before decision to make.
In his next over Joseph nipped another one back in off the seam to pluck out Varun Chopra“s off stump and send him packing for three.
At 18 for three Essex were deep in trouble, but Walker then teamed up with his new skipper Pettini to add 52 in 19 overs through to the lunch break.

Photo by ARPics