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Match Report: Hampshire vs. Kent

Kent travelled to the Utilita Bowl in Southampton to face Hampshire in the Vitality County Championship.

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Day Four Report

Kent took the match into the final session but fell to a six-wicket defeat at Hampshire in the Vitality County Championship.

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The hosts were given 179 runs to chase in 31 overs, and after taking the wickets of Toby Albert, Fletcha Middleton and James Vince, Liam Dawson & Nick Gubbins helped steer Hampshire side home.

Kyle Abbott had taken a five-wicket haul while 84-maker Harry Finch had frustrated the hosts, but Kent were able to secure a positive result.

Fletcha Middleton and Toby Albert remained as openers and put on 41 in seven overs – with Middleton clearing long on and Albert scooping Grant Stewart over the ropes.

Albert edged behind but James Vince carried on the momentum with 32 off 21 – which included a slog sweep six.

But Vince was yorked and Middleton was bamboozled by a delivery that kept low either side of a rain delay which lost one over.

Gubbins holed out but James Fuller got Hampshire over the line with seven overs to spare when he threw his bat at a wide delivery.

Hampshire started the day needing eight wickets at the very least on the final day, with their lead a slender 30. But were a bowler down all day after Keith Barker pulled out of an over the previous evening, initially thought to be cramp.

It was hardly helpful when Jack Leaning was dropped on 32 and 43, although only lasted two further balls after the second shelling when an attempted hook was glanced to wicketkeeper Ben Brown.

That ended a 106-run partnership with Ben Compton, who had been a brick wall to frustrate Hampshire as long as possible, while also giving his side a slim chance of victory.

His gritty stay ended when he was adjudged to have gloved the ball to short leg, despite the replay showing that the ball had not touched the left-hander’s bat, before Joey Evison was pinned by a delivery which stayed low from Fuller.

What Compton had started with his 92, Harry Finch continued, initially at a quicker rate than his predecessor – especially during his 72-run stand with Tawanda Muyeye.

The wicketkeeper-batter was the glue with the tail, as Leaning had been in the first innings, although Muyeye, Charlie Stobo and Grant Stewart all fell to the rampaging Abbott.

Muyeye hit onto his own stumps, Stobo was undone by a beauty which hammered the top of off stump and Stewart was lbw to a full in-ducker.

Finch was tigerish though as he reached 50 in 81 balls, and found company with Parkinson – who like the first innings helped add 44 for the ninth wicket.

Parkinson tickled Mohammed Abbas behind but another 23-run stand for the last wicket further maddened a tetchy Hampshire before Abbott finally wrapped things up, via a Finch top edge and a juggling Vince. Abbott returning five for 85.

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Day Three Report

Jack Leaning and Ben Compton gave Kent a chance of saving a Vitality County Championship draw against Hampshire.

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Leaning led the resolve in the first innings by returning from injury to score 118, before Compton bedded in with 71 not out in the second innings.

But their determination came with a backdrop of a 162-run first innings deficit, meaning Hampshire forced them to follow-on, and just eight wickets in hand heading into the final day.

The duo ended the day with a 84 unbroken partnership with Kent up to 132 for two, with the deficit down to just 30 runs.

Leaning returned on day three on 73, having guided the visitors around the evening session which saw them end up six down and trailing by 299 runs.

He survived Vince dropping him at first slip on 84 but was otherwise restrained and oozed leadership in his fight back while marshalling the tail.

Leaning had missed the last seven weeks with a broken hand, which he suffered during the drawn match with Worcestershire in May.

In that innings he had scored an unbeaten 179 and he made it back-to-back hundreds in 207 balls, the 10th of his career, sixth since joining Kent and second in his last three visits at Utilita Bowl.

Around Leaning, two wickets fell on either side of the second new ball.

Charlie Stobo’s sensible 28 was ended two overs before the new ball was unveiled when James Fuller pinned him leg before.

And then four balls into the new cherry, Grant Stewart was caught LBW by Mohammed Abbas.

But Matt Parkinson took more time out of the game with Leaning, and minimised the deficit with a patient 24. The pair put on 44 to frustrate the hosts.

But Leaning’s fine innings was ended when Kyle Abbott bowled him and Kent were bowled out for 343 when Parkinson fended Keith Barker to first slip – Barker ending with four for 85.

The last four Kent wickets put on 137 to almost avoid the follow-on, but despite their efforts Vince was able to turn them back around.

Feroze Khushi was more restrained than his thrilling first-innings 53, but he top-edged Barker to long leg for 4.

Daniel Bell-Drummond lasted slightly longer before Liam Dawson extracted enough turn to take his off-stump.

But Compton found company with that man Leaning to take any sting out of the day.

Opener Compton reached a chanceless fifty in 114 balls with a reverse sweep; a showcase of his ability to score.

Leaning was again solid in his second innings to all-but wipe out the deficit.

Hampshire will need eight wickets and a run chase on the final day, and might be without Barker – who pulled up during a delivery midway through the evening and didn’t return.

Kent will need to continue their patient approach, and keep the wall firm that has been built by Compton and Leaning in the evening session as they finished on 132/2.

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Kent’s Jack Leaning said: “I think we showed a lot of fight. We got about a par score for what the pitch was in the first innings as there is always something there for the bowlers.

“We were a bit disappointed not to get up above the follow-on but me and Ben Compton have got us into a better position than we were in so hopefully we have a nice big partnership tomorrow and drive the game.

“Hopefully we will be in a position where we can turn that deficit around and have a bowl at them later in the day and put them under pressure.

“I have been out for the last seven weeks sat watching and wishing I was out there since the Worcestershire game.

“I was pretty determined to get out there and make some contributions for the team and luckily today was my day.

“We need to be nice and patient and clear with our plans tomorrow. It starts with me and Ben in the morning and hopefully we can bat beyond lunch and really set us into a position where we can push and win the game.”

Day Two Report

James Vince completed his fourth Vitality County Championship double century before Jack Leaning brought up an unbeaten 79 at the close of play on day two on his return to the side.

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He was able to declare on 505 for eight with attacking duo James Fuller’s 41 and Keith Barker’s 43 before Barker, Mohammad Abbas and Kyle Abbott chipped away with wickets.

Feroze Khushi and Jack Leaning bagged contrasting fifties for the visitors but they ended the day 299 runs behind on 206 for six.

Ben Brown took his partnership with Vince to 259 – Hampshire’s all-time best against Kent for the fourth wicket – before inside edging onto his pads to loop to second slip, before Liam Dawson was bowled by Joey Evison.

Vince’s 200 came up in 262 balls, with only Phil Mead, Gordon Greenidge and Jimmy Adams scoring more doubles for Hampshire.

Vince was dismissed on 211 when the tireless Grant Stewart managed to take the shoulder of the bat and send the ball through to second slip.

James Fuller and Keith Barker  further upped the run-rate with some aggressive batting either side of lunch with the pair both reaching the 40s.

Both were then bowled before Vince called Felix Organ and Kyle Abbott in after a 35 partnership to declare on 508 for eight.

Feroze Khushi, on loan from Essex, was impressive in reply.

The shot of the day was a whipped six over square leg on his way to a 38-ball fifty from the bowling of an ill-tempered Mohammad Abbas, who was punished earlier in the innings by throwing the ball unnecessarily at Daniel Bell-Drummond, docking Hampshire five penalty runs.

But wickets kept falling. Ben Compton was adjudged to be leg before in the third over to Barker while Abbas ended his first four overs having gone for 31 but hit back to have Daniel Bell-Drummond caught behind in a wicket maiden.

Khushi fell to a full Barker delivery, Evison edged Abbas behind, before Barker picked up the wicket of Tawanda Muyeye, who had put together a 50 partnership with the returning Jack Leaning.

But throughout, Leaning bedded in and found little problems with the Hampshire attack, reaching fifty in 89 balls and ended the day unbeaten on 73.

Harry Finch was later caught and bowled by Abbott just before close, with Kent 206 for six.

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Kent’s Feroze Khushi said: “It was quite tricky conditions against a very good attack. It is my debut so there were a little bit of nerves as you want to do well.

“I wanted to get the team into a good position and start well, and I think we did that, but then we lost some wickets.

“We need to dig hard tomorrow and losing that wicket at the end wasn’t ideal. It is a good cricket wicket and if you get a bad ball you can definitely put it away, once you get in on it you get more confident. Tomorrow morning’s session is going to be important, we have a long way to climb so we need to be positive.

“I played a similar innings to this for Essex against Lancashire and it came off. It might not look the prettiest but sometimes you have to adapt. I’m disappointed not to push on after tea as I was eyeing up a big one.

“I was feeling in a good rhythm and wanted to be positive. The last thing I want to do is let the bowlers bowl to me and dictate things.”

Day One Report

James Vince’s form continued with his second century in a week as the Hampshire skipper and Ben Brown finish not out on Day One against Kent in the Vitality County Championship.

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Vince and Brown put on 245 for the fourth wicket after the top order had faltered to 56 for three.

Wicketkeeper-batter Brown joined Vince also reached a century late in the day to reach an unbeaten 106 as Hampshire ended the day on 310 for three.

Having been stuck in, and endured an 80-minute rain delay shortly after play had started, Hampshire found themselves in a spot of bother.

Fletcha Middleton had recorded twin fifties at Edgbaston but uneasily left his bat hanging for the fit again Grant Stewart to kiss the outside edge.

Australian Charlie Stobo was next up to bulldoze the top order when Nick Gubbins, padded into his stumps to leave Hampshire 24 for two.

Vince quickly got moving with his first scoring shot naturally a drive through the cover boundary.

But lost Toby Albert after nine overs together when the opener loosely drove to second slip – with Jack Leaning not showing any ill effects from the broken hand which had kept him out for seven weeks.

From then on Vince put his foot down, with 10 of his boundaries going through the covers.

It was a controlled innings, and none went close to hands as he started well and never relented.

The fifty came in 56 balls, the century – his 30th in first-class matches – came in 115 deliveries with a tuck off his legs. There was even time for him to pass 12,000 red ball runs for Hampshire.

Brown was watchful and determined. The former Sussex captain was controlled. Boundaries came when they came but he never went searching for them.

But when there was a little width, a punched cut would appear. A ball down his legs and a full-blooded sweep of pull would materialise.

His 25th century arrived in 183 balls as the floodlights started to glow, as the green-tinged pitch which initially looked perfect for bowling had long since flattened out.

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