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LV=CC: Warwickshire v Kent day one match report

Monday 30th August 2010

Warwickshire v Kent
LV=County Championship Division One
Tuesday, 31 August – Friday, 3 September 2010
Edgbaston, Birmingham

Warwickshire won the toss and chose to bat

Warwickshire first innings: 294 all out, 84.4 overs
Botha 76, Tahir 69*, Woakes 30
Coles 3-49, Stevens 3-63, Cook 2-65

Kent first innings: 37 for three, 9 overs
Northeast 19*, Cook 9, Tredwell 8*
Woakes 3-18, Carter 0-18

Day one match report by Sam Dixon

Kent wasted a superb position on day one of their crucial LV=County Championship clash with Warwickshire at Edgbaston after allowing the last wicket pairing of Ant Botha and Imran Tahir to add 118 to help dig the home side out of a big hole. Things then got worse for Rob Key’s men when Warwickshire opening bowler Chris Woakes reduced Kent to 37 for three at stumps.

The visitors looked to be taking control of the clash between two relegation candidates when three wickets from Darren Stevens (pictured) reduced the Bears to 107 for seven, but, in keeping with their whole season, Rob Key“s side failed to polish off the tail and threw away a dominant position as Warwickshire posted 294.

After winning the toss and deciding to take first use of the Edgbaston wicket, the home side, despite an early flurry of boundaries from opener Varun Chopra off Azhar Mahmood, were soon on the rack – largely thanks to another superb spell from Stevens. The all-rounder, recently given new-ball duties by skipper Rob Key, bowled 15 overs unchanged from one end in the morning session and reaped the rewards for an accurate spell, returning 3-30. Chopra became his first scalp when the 23 year-old was trapped in-front on 24. Fellow opener Ian Westwood (14) soon followed when he edged Stevens to Martin van Jaarsveld at second-slip. Two soon became three when Simon Cook got in on the act as he trapped Jim Troughton leg before for nine as the Bears teetered on 55 for three.

The flurry of wickets didn“t stop there though as veteran Darren Maddy was next to fall to the wily Stevens, with the Warwickshire number three nicking off to Geraint Jones on 11. Then, in the last over before lunch, Matt Coles compounded the home side“s misery in the first session as he snaffled Rikki Clarke, caught and bowled via a top-edge, for ten to leave Warwickshire struggling on 74 for five at the interval.

It was left to the young pairing of debutant Laurie Evans and 21 year-old wicket-keeper Richard Johnson to repair the damage after the break as Kent looked to break into the Bears tail. The duo put on 25, before Johnson fell to Azhar for 18, making it 99 for six, a position of strength for the visitors. Things got worse for Westwood“s side three overs later when Cook claimed his second wicket of the day – clean bowling Evans for 15 in his comeback over. The Warwickshire tail has been exposed more often than not this season, and at 107 for seven, today was certainly no exception as Woakes joined Ant Botha at the crease.

The pair played positively as they took the Bears beyond 150, adding 50 together inside ten overs as Key“s men threatened to let them off the hook; Woakes was particularly impressive running along at better than a run a ball. However, on 30, the youngster succumbed to the spin of James Tredwell as the England man bowled the talented all-rounder to leave Warwickshire on 167 for eight, paving the way for Neil Carter, fresh from a ton against Scotland yesterday, to stride to the wicket. He failed to get going though as Coles struck again, removing the South African for six with Alex Blake taking the catch. Unfortunately, what was to follow wasn“t pleasant.

Instead of bundling the home side out for less than 200 and depriving their closest rivals of batting points, the Kent attack allowed Warwickshire to force their way back into the game. Imran Tahir joined Botha at the crease and soon they were scoring freely. Their partnership rocked along at 4.5 runs per over and by tea they had put on 57, reaching 233 for nine. The pair continued to frustrate Kent into the final session as Botha went to his half century off 95 balls, closely followed by Tahir who made his fifty off 61 balls, particularly taking a liking to Tredwell whom he hit for three sixes. Their century stand came up in the 83rd over as the whole course of the game was changing. Botha was finally dismissed for a fine 76 as Coles grabbed his third to finish with figures of 3 for 49. Tahir was unbeaten at the other end after blasting four maximums in his 72-ball 69 as the Bears bowlers gave themselves something to go at as Kent embarked on a tricky nine over evening session and it started in horrific fashion when Woakes bowled Joe Denly with the first ball of the innings.

The 21 year-old then accounted for Key, for another duck, in his next over as Kent’s woes continued as they found themselves at four for two. Cook was sent in as night watchman but he also perished to Woakes for nine to leave the visitors floundering at 21 for three. Sam Northeast (19*) and Tredwell (8*) made it through to stumps without any further alarms as an enthralling albeit frustrating opening day for Kent came to an end.

Picture: Sarah Ansell