Lawson bags four for 93 on Kent bow to restrict Pakistan to 360 all out

Sunday 27th June 2010

Former Yorkshire, Middlesex and Derbyshire wrist-spinner Mark Lawson

Kent v The Pakistanis, Canterbury June 28-30.
By Mark Pennell
Leg-spinner Mark Lawson showed his mettle on county debut by recovering from some harsh treatment at the hands of Umer Akmal to claim four for 93 and help restrict Pakistan to 360 all out on the opening day of this three-day friendly.
Kent took the opportunity to rest many of their weary first team, but were delighted to welcome back Joe Denly, James Hockley, Robbie Joseph and Dewald Nel from injury and hand a debut to former Yorkshire, Middlesex and Derbyshire leg-spinner, Lawson.
Having worked with Kent coach Paul Farbrace at England Under-19 level, the 25-year-old was handed a chance to shine against the international visitors and responded well to the challenge alongside Kent youngsters James Goodman, Alex Blake, Chris Piesley and Alex Blake.
Kent made their first breakthrough in the third over of the day and from Matt Coles“ seventh delivery of the morning when Umer Amin (7), working across the line and aiming toward mid-wicket, missed a seaming ball to go leg before and make it 10 for one.
Salman Butt and Fawad Alam (20) took the score on to 52 before a double change in the bowling by acting captain Azhar Mahmood led to consecutive wicket maidens.
Having sent down 6-1-27-1, Coles was replaced by Dewald Nel, playing his first since April 25, struck with his third ball from the Nackington Road End to remove Fawad Alam (20) leg before despite indications that the left-hander may have got a slight inside edge on it.
In the following over Azhar Mahmood bagged the third lbw decision of the session to remove Salman Butt (26) with a darting leg-cutter that cut back in to trap him on the crease.
Pakistan“s morning might have been much worse had Azhar not missed a slip chance off Coles or Lawson a skied hook down at long-leg off the bowling of Nel with Umer Akmal on only seven. Running around from deep square leg the ball evaded Lawson“s dive and trickled over the ropes for a boundary.
Lawson made amends in the final over before lunch however when, with only his third ball, he teased Malik into a wide drive which he obligingly clipped to Alex Blake at backward point.
Alex Blake took two wickets in as many overs in the mid-session as Pakistan“s struggle to acclimatise continued into the mid-session at sunny St Lawrence.
Blake, who has found his bowling opportunities restricted by back problems, had Shoaib Malik (27) superbly caught in the gully by Matt Coles, diving one-handed away to his right before taking the prized scalp of Shahid Afridi in his next over.
The Pakistan captain sliced a wild drive to backward point where Dewald Nel took a fine running catch to send ‘boom boom“ packing for a six-ball duck.
A seventh-wicket stand of 111 in 30.1 overs between Abdul Rehman (30) and Akmal finally gave Pakistan a measure of control in the match with Akmal posting a deserved century from 150 balls.
But Rehman went to a sharp leg-side stumping by Paul Dixey, who then ended Akmal“s innings for 153 with a second stumping, this time off Lawson, after he missed an attempted swish over long-on.
Lawson ran through the tail thereafter leaving Kent night watchman Coles to survive the day“s final over as the hosts reached two without loss at stumps. The game resumes at 10.30am on Tuesday.
Kent team: Denly, Piesley, Blake, Hockley, Goodman, Mahmood, Coles, Dixey, Joseph, Nel, Lawson.