LV=CC: Kent v Somerset match preview

Sunday 1st August 2010

Kent v Somerset
LV=County Championship Division One
Tuesday 3 August – Friday 6 August 2010. 11am start
St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury

Canterbury Cricket Week hits the St Lawrence Ground tomorrow as Kent play host to Marcus Trescothick“s Somerset in a hugely important LV=County Championship division one clash.

Rob Key“s men will be high on confidence after a 99-run win over Essex last week eased relegation fears slightly, but in a tight division points remain at a premium for Kent and this week is a crucial encounter against a strong Somerset outfit who still hold title-winning aspirations.

Kent had their ups and downs in the victory over Essex last week but ultimately a five wicket haul from Azhar Mahmood in the visitors second-innings secured a maximum point win for the home side. Key“s decision to have first use of the St Lawrence track was justified as they racked up 420 thanks to Martin van Jaarsveld“s first LV=CC ton of the summer and 99 from Geraint Jones. In reply Essex just managed to avoid the follow-on, largely indebted to a Mark Pettini vigil as he made 88 from 246-balls, but their total of 279 still handed Kent a 141 first-innings advantage. Three wickets apiece for Amjad Khan and Malinga Bandara shone out of the bowling attack.

Then, on the Saturday afternoon, the game was nearly turned on its head as an ugly collapse from Kent saw them dismissed for 135 as on-loan Andy Carter took 5-40. James Tredwell“s 40 was the only resistance from the home side. Despite the capitulation, Essex still needed a challenging 277 to take victory and in the end a wily Mahmood out-foxed them. At one stage with Ravi Bopara and Matt Walker at the crease on 120-3 it looked as though the visitors were slight favourites but they soon lost seven wickets for 57 runs as Azhar returned 5-62 with Tredwell chipping in with 2-40 as Kent took a valuable victory.

Somerset showed their title credentials in their last outing as they crushed Nottinghamshire by ten wickets at Taunton inside three days. The home side batted first and made a monster 517. James Hildreth was the main contributor as his 142 put the visiting attack to the sword. Notts replied with a respectable 339, with Samit Patel making a ton, but Charl Willoughby“s 6-101 meant the Midlanders were forced to follow-on. This time it was another South African, Alfonso Thomas, who was the main destroyer for Somerset as he returned 5-40 as Notts were skittled for 190. Openers Trescothick and Nick Compton knocked off the winning runs inside two overs to complete a resounding win.

The two sides only met a couple of weeks ago and Kent led by van Jaarsveld in the absence of broken finger victim Key, were happy to take a draw away from the West Country despite dominating the first day against Somerset . On a green top, the home side subsided to 122 for seven after day one largely thanks to four wickets from Darren Stevens. However, they rallied on the second morning and were bowled out for 205. Zander de Bruyn“s 44 was crucial for Somerset whereas Stevens (4-38) and Khan (3-63) impressed for Kent. Trescothick“s men then proceeded to continue their day two fightback as they soon took control of the game.

Plenty of Kent batters made starts, Joe Denly (34), Sam Northeast (24), Matt Coles (23), but ultimately they didn“t stand up to a wily Somerset attack as Murali Kartik returned 5-50 as Kent were bundled out for 172. Somerset then pushed on in their second innings to their extend their lead despite the whole of day three being washed out. Quickfire knocks from Trescothick (80), Hildreth (48) and de Bruyn (43) meant Kent were set an academic last day target of 325, their real target was to bat out two sessions. In the end Kent finished on 191-7, Jones was the mainstay with 150-ball 47, as Kartik took five more to finish with match figures of 10-107. The visitors went back to the south with six points.

With important points to play for, a superb cricket week atmosphere and fine weather it promises to be a cracking match to view for the spectators. Please ensure you come and show your support for Rob Key“s men.

Kent named an unchanged squad from the side that overcame Essex last week. The only place that seems up for grabs is the all-rounder role superbly occupied by Azhar last week. With games coming thick and fast he may be rested, if that happens Matt Coles will come into the starting XI. With Robbie Joseph the only absentee as he continues to struggle with a shoulder injury, Kent are nearly at full-strength as they enter a crucial stage of the season.

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

Picture:Getty Images