LV= CC: Kent v Lancashire match preview

Monday 16th August 2010

Kent v Lancashire
LV= County Championship Division One
Wednesday 18 August – Saturday 21 August 2010
11am scheduled start on each morning
St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury

Kent“s cricketers are entering the crucial business end of the season, looking to maintain their place in division one of the LV=CC and, after a well-earned ten-day break, they welcome Lancashire to the St Lawrence Ground for their latest four-day match.

In a tight division, where 26 points separate the bottom six teams, Kent currently sit third from the foot of the table having recorded two wins from their 12 games so far. Lancashire are five points and two places above, having won three times this season. A win for either side is imperative and could make all the difference as we enter the final few matches.

In Kent“s last outing in this competition they took on Somerset during Canterbury Cricket Week and, in the end, it whimpered out into a tame draw as rain intervened. The visitors batted first and, despite being reduced to 59 for three at one stage, a fourth wicket stand of 253 between Arul Suppiah (125) and James Hildreth (151) saw them recover. In the end Kent bounced back and restricted the west country side to 380 all-out as Amjad Khan and Azhar Mahmood took three wickets apiece.

In reply Kent also had a top-order wobble, falling to 47-3, before Martin van Jaarsveld (71) and Geraint Jones resurrected the situation – adding 129 for the fourth wicket. However, wickets continued to fall regularly. Former-Kent seam bowler Ben Phillips took 5-72 to leave Kent way adrift at lunch on day three; 260-8. Enter wicketkeeper Jones. Resuming just shy of a ton the gloveman produced a stunning array of hitting to dominate a ninth wicket stand of 90 with Khan (11) before he finally fell for a career best 178. The last 78 runs of his knock came off just 54 balls as he crashed 24 boundaries and three big sixes as Kent were all-out for 372.

On the final day, quick runs from Somerset may have made a game of it but they were happy to bat out for a draw as captain Marcus Trescothick remained unbeaten on 188 when he declared on 387 for seven. At that point the two skippers shook hands on a draw, with Rob Key basking in the glory of career-best bowling figures of 2-31. However, it was off-spinner James Tredwell who stole the limelight. He recorded his first five-wicket haul of the season, sending down a marathon 42 overs, as each side took ten points away from the draw.

Lancashire, on the other-hand, came unstuck in their last LV= CC game as they were beaten by Durham in a low-scoring encounter at Old Trafford last week. The home side batted first and struggled to 181 all-out with Mark Chilton“s 69 being the only innings of note as Durham spin bowler Ian Blackwell took 5-78. The north east county responded by posting 237, thanks largely to Blackwell“s 65. Gary Keedy was the star man in that innings; he returned fine figures of 7-68. 56 behind on first innings, Lancashire set about giving their rivals a stiff victory target but again that man Blackwell scripted their downfall. His figures of 4-102 meant, after fifties from Chilton and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Glenn Chapple“s men could only muster 266 setting Durham a modest 171 to win. The visitors cruised to their target on the final day to win by six wickets. 63 from Tasmanian Michael Di Venuto led them to victory as Lancashire only took only three points from the game.

Kent have met the Red Rose County before this season up at Old Trafford and, in a rain-ravaged game, a draw was the inevitable result. In Makhaya Ntini“s first game for the county, Kent were frustrated by Ashwell Prince“s 115 after reducing the home side to 86 for four, at one stage. In the end, Lancashire posted 320 in their first knock. Steven Croft also contributed with the bat making 93 as Ntini impressed on debut taking 3-46 whilst Darren Stevens returned 4-44.

In their reply, Kent were in disarray at 97 for seven but, not for the only time this season, Stevens was superb in steadying the ship as he added 92 for the eighth wicket with Matt Coles (33) on his way to an unbeaten 101 as Key“s men made 213. Regular rain delays meant the visitors“ chances of forcing a draw were boosted as Lancashire declared on 177-3, in their second innings, thanks to fifties from Prince and Chilton. Set 285 to win, Kent stumbled at 45 for two but only 11.5 overs were possible on the final day as the match was abandoned as a draw at 3.45pm. Kent travelled back to the south with six points as Lancashire claimed nine.

The game starts on Wednesday so please come along and show your support at a crucial stage of the season. Every point is valuable now as we enter the closing weeks of the season. Tickets are still available for the game. The cost is £20 for adults and £5 for juniors.

Kent: Denly, Key (C), Northeast, van Jaarsveld, Jones (W), Stevens, Tredwell, Coles, Bandara, Cook, Khan