Late breakthroughs on Day One

Late breakthroughs on Day One

Determined bowling and some outstanding fielding at the back-end of the first day of Kent’s Specsavers County Championship tie against Hampshire shifted the balance back from the hosts at the Ageas Bowl.

Evening wickets with the second new ball gave Kent rewards for their toils – as the hosts ended the day on 340 for six.

South African fast bowler and Hampshire stand-in captain Kyle Abbott won the toss and elected to bowl on an almost identical track to the one the hosts scored 539 on against Warwickshire last week.

A new-look Hampshire opening pair of Felix Organ and Ian Holland came to the fore in the first two sessions.

Together they saw off the new ball with relative ease, neither offering a chance, with Holland playing a series of glorious off-side shots.

While Holland played with a glimmer of attacking intent, Organ curbed his aggression – with his wicket prized more importantly than runs in the morning session.

American-born Australian Holland followed his century a week ago with a 74-ball fifty.

But he fell, after a 92-run stand for the first wicket, when he edged Harry Podmore to Sean Dickson at first slip.

In the next over, Ajinkya Rahane, on his last outing as Hampshire’s overseas player, drilled a cut shot powerfully to point only to see Daniel Bell-Drummond produce a stunning low catch.

That mini-wobble would have worried the Hampshire dressing room, who had elected to bring in Mason Crane as an extra bowling option in the absence of batsman Sam Northeast.

Organ’s innings was particularly curious as he reached his half-century in 158 balls, but with three sixes to his name.

At one point his strike-rate dipped below 20 to hint at a watchful vigil but had a penchant for the odd attacking shot meant there was plenty of entertainment on show.

Rossouw showed maturity in his innings to restrict his usual swashbuckling efforts, leaning on his timing rather than raw power to lift his bat on an 80-ball fifty.

The South African passed his highest score of the season but his departure, caught well at first slip attempting a reverse sweep, saw three wickets fall for 22 runs in five overs.

Among the collapse, Organ ran the happiest three of his life to reach three figures in 234 balls; his enthusiasm was matched by a loud reaction from the crowd.

But next ball he nibbled outside off stump and edged behind before Gareth Berg was bowled two balls later – handing Darren Stevens two wickets in an over with the second new ball.

Aneurin Donald furnished the evening session with an eye-catching quick-fire 40, but before he could match the heights of his 225 runs at a rate of 118 last week, the Welshman mistimed a pull and saw Joe Denly run back from mid-on to brilliantly take the catch.

Kent assistant coach Allan Donald said: “It’s an absolute peach of a wicket.

“They played very well, we took half-chances magnificently. I’m proud of how we stuck at it.

“That first hour tomorrow is key to bowl them out quickly and get batting.”

Credit: ECB Reporters’ Network

England Lions will face a touring Australian Test warm-up side at The Spitfire Ground, St. Lawrence from this Sunday, as the visitors gear up for the 2019 Specsavers Ashes Series against England.

Kent’s Zak Crawley has been selected as part of the Lions squad for this fixture at his home ground.

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