Match Report: Kent vs. Lancashire

Match Report: Kent vs. Lancashire

The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence hosted its first LV= Insurance County Championship match of 2022 as Kent took on Lancashire.

Day Four Report:

Ben Compton made Kentish cricketing history with a third century in as many innings, but celebrations were dampened by defeat to Lancashire at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

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Lancashire beat Kent by ten wickets in their LV=Insurance County Championship match, but only after the hosts frustrated them deep into the final day.

Matt Parkinson finished with match figures of seven for 158, while Hasan Ali took three for 36 in Kent’s second innings, but the visitors were held up by a defiant rearguard action from Ben Compton, who stayed on the field for every minute of play across all four days – a feat last achieved by Matt Walker against Somerset in 1995.

When he was finally out for 115, Compton had faced 629 balls and batted for 856 minutes.

Compton and Hamid Qadri put on a stand of 139 for the eight wicket but Lancashire eventually clinched victory when they chased down a modest target of 33 to finish on 36 for nought.

The visitors had reduced Kent 81 for six overnight and home optimism was thin on the ground when a sparse crowd saw Parkinson remove Matt Milnes lbw with the sixth ball of the morning, without adding to his overnight score of eight.

Qadri, however, batted with discipline while also displaying flashes of style as he punished the looser deliveries. It frustrated Lancashire to the extent that Parkinson was switched from the Pavilion End to the Nackington Road and back again, to little avail.

Compton stole a single from him to bring up his 50 shortly before lunch and Qadri passed his previous high-score of 30, against Sussex at Canterbury last year, before racking up his maiden first class fifty when he elegantly cut George Balderson for four through backward point.

He was subsequently dropped on 53 by Steven Croft at second slip, after Hasan Ali found his edge, but his innings finally came to an end for 77, after 177 balls and 198 minutes, when Ali clipped his bail, the bowler howling with relief.

Nathan Gilchrist survived just 13 balls before Ali hit the top of his off stump, bowling him for a duck, but when Compton cut Parkinson for a single to level the scores it at least forced the visitors to bat again. He then conjured a reverse sweep off Luke Wells to bring up his history-making hundred.

The visitors’ frustration deepened when Compton survived a stumping chance off Parkinson, but he narrowly missed out on becoming the first Kent player ever to carry his bat in both innings when he was the last man out.

His last-wicket stand of 54 with Jackson Bird (17 not out) took the game into an unexpected final session, but he was lbw to Balderson just as home supporters were starting to calculate how many overs they needed to survive to make things interesting.

Balderson and Wells eased to the target in 7.1 overs, finishing unbeaten on 23 and 13 respectively, the latter hitting the winning runs when he clipped Qadri for four.

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Kent’s Ben Compton said. “I’m delighted on a personal level to make the start I have for Kent. I wanted to try and make an impact early doors. It’s with mixed feelings because we’ve been beaten here and we’re all looking at ways to improve and things we can do for next week. We’re expecting a similar kind of pitch so we need to find ways of dealing with that.”

(On his numerous records) “It hasn’t really sunk in but I’m sure it will at some point. It’s dangerous to look ahead and start putting goals like that. I just try to keep it simple and just watch the ball, take things in small stages and just build from there, so that’s what I’ve been trying to but obviously I’m delighted with the start I’ve made and I hope it an help us win games.

“I’m tired but I feel like I’ve given everything I can and that’s a nice feeling. I’ve done as much as I can to try and get us a draw and hopefully in future games it’ll be a win, that’s what’s rewarding. I’m going to rest up tonight, have tomorrow off and then we’ll be training on Tuesday.”

Day Three Report:

Ben Compton scored a second hundred in as many matches, but Kent will need to bat all day tomorrow to save their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Lancashire.

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The hosts were bowled out for 260 in their first innings and with a lead of 246, Lancashire immediately enforced the follow on.

Matt Parkinson has match figures of six for 88 while George Balderson has taken four for 16, including three for 14 in Kent’s first innings, putting the visitors in a dominant position.

Ben Compton made an unbeaten 104 in Kent’s first innings, having been stuck on 99 for 38 minutes, and he was unbeaten on 20 at stumps, having witnessed all 16 dismissals from the other end and having been on the pitch for every minute of all three days. In total Compton faced 421 balls over 571 minutes for an unbeaten aggregate score of 124.

All nine wickets to fall on day two had been taken by spinners (six for Hamid Qadri, three for Parkinson) but pace finally counted after half an hour, when night-watchman Qadri, who’d already taken a violent blow to the right shoulder, saw his off stump pinged back by Tom Bailey, bowling him for 10.

Jordan Cox then lost his off-stump to Hasan Ali for two, but Ollie Robinson hung around for just over an hour to make 27 before he was lbw to Parkinson, leaving Kent on 204 for six at lunch, having resumed on 133 for three.

Darren Stevens made just six before he was lbw to Ali, who celebrated with a banshee-like wail, but the afternoon’s main plot concerned Compton, who moved to 99 with a single off Bailey in the 87th over and then faced four successive maidens while nearly running out of partners.

While Compton was marooned on 99, Matt Milnes was caught behind off George Balderson for 22 and Nathan Gilchrist was caught by Luke Wells off the very next delivery. Jackson Bird thwacked Balderson’s hat-trick ball to the square leg boundary, but it was only when Parkinson replaced Bailey at the Pavilion End that Compton was finally able to celebrate.

Having faced 24 balls and played only one false shot, he glanced the spinner for a single to short fine leg to clinch his second century in as many innings for his new club.

When Balderson bowled Bird for 9 in the next over to conclude Kent’s first innings, Compton became the first Kent player to carry his bat since Daniel Bell-Drummond in 2017 and he was given just a ten-minute break before he was asked to do it all over again.

Zak Crawley made five before he edged Balderson behind to a diving one-handed catch by Phil Salt and Bell-Drummond had made just nine when he glanced Danny Lamb down the leg side to become Salt’s second victim of the innings.

Kent reached 28 for two at Tea and lost Tawanda Muyeye early in the evening session when he tried to pull Bailey and was caught by Steven Croft for 17. Cox then tried charging Parkinson and was bowled for one, having faced just seven balls.

Robinson showed some of Compton’s discipline, lasting 61 balls before Ali had him LBW for 11, but Stevens survived just four deliveries before he was LBW to Parkinson for one.

Matt Milnes was unbeaten on eight at Stumps but Kent will need a final day full of batting to avoid an innings defeat.

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Kent’s Ben Compton said: “I’m just exhausted but obviously to follow up my innings at Essex with my first century at Canterbury is obviously very important to me. It’s just one of those days where things happen quickly and we’re in a bit of trouble now but we’ve got to try and battle deep tomorrow and see how far we can get.

“I was just trying to watch the ball as closely as I can. It’s not terrible batting conditions, the sun’s out and it worked for me today. There’ll be other days when naturally you find yourself on the wrong end of things but I’m just grateful I could spen a long time out tehere and just try to do my job as well as I can.

(On being stuck on 99) “It was a bit of a weird one, I don’t think that’s happened to me before, to be stuck on that number for so long, they were quite smart about it, they just put the ball there and I had to try and look for something and just try to be patient. I got there in the end thankfully.”

(On whether he was tempted to drop down the order) “I think as soon as they said we were batting again I knew I’d be straight out there so I just tried to reset. You’re back on zero and you’ve got to see off the new ball, so that was my aim really. I’m thrilled, it’s not really sunk in yet, it’s been pretty much back-to-back games but I’m sure I’ll sit down one day and enjoy it, but I’ve just got to sit down and rest and go as far as we can tomorrow.”

Day Two Report:

Career-best six wickets for Hamid Qadri was the pick of the action for Kent on Day Two of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Canterbury.

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England’s Zak Crawley hit 54 for Kent on his return, but late wickets from Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson reduced the hosts to 133 for three on day two of their game at Canterbury.

Parkinson claimed three for 39, leaving Kent 373 behind at stumps, with their top scorer Ben Compton unbeaten on 60.

Earlier Steven Croft hit 155 and Phil Salt 97 as Lancashire posted 506 all out.

After the first four sessions were dominated by batters, Hamid Qadri took career best figures, claiming six for 129 despite having suffered a hand injury that had forced him off the field at the end of day one, the visitors losing their last five wickets for 40 runs.

Lancashire resumed on 344 for 4, with Croft on 113 and Salt on 33 and they steadily ticked off milestones during a morning session largely bereft of tension.

Salt reached 50 with a single off Qadri and Croft got to 150 glancing a single from the same bowler, only to get out one run short of his career best, when Qadri had him caught behind.

It was Kent’s sole wicket of the morning, Lancashire reaching 466 for five at lunch, but Qadri struck again with the second ball of the afternoon session, when he lured Salt into an attempt to clear the boundary and was caught just inside the rope by Daniel Bell-Drummond.

Qadri then drew an edge from Luke Wood, who was caught in the slips by Darren Stevens for 14 and he claimed his fourth victim when Tom Bailey tried to loft him over mid on and was caught by Jordan Cox for a duck. When Hasan Ali cut the next ball to Zak Crawley at first slip Qadri had his first five-wicket haul for the hosts, but Matt Parkinson steered the hat-trick ball past the slips for a single.

Parkinson was then hit on the helmet when he ducked into a Nathan Gilchrist delivery but he and Danny Lamb steered Lancashire past 500 with a useful last-wicket stand of 31 before the latter was bowled trying to charge Qadri.

The start of Kent’s innings saw Lancashire react to every unsuccessful delivery with synchronised anguish, but their initial excitement was quelled as Ben Compton and Crawley batted through the rest of the afternoon session to reach 51 for 0 at tea.

Crawley swept Parkinson to the boundary to reach his half-century, but when Compton nudged the same bowler for a single, Crawley was bowled by Parkinson’s next ball, ending an opening stand of 109.

Bell-Drummond survived two loud LBW appeals before Parkinson bowled him with an unplayable delivery for two. He then pinned Tawanda Muyeye LBW for 6, leaving night-watchman Qadri to survive three overs and finish not out for two.

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Kent’s Hamid Qadri said: “It was tough work actually, the first day was a long toil, the second day I got my rewards. Basically I just stuck at it, backed my best ball and gave the seamers a break from this end.

“The great man Stevo (Darren Stevens) suggested I should change ends and then it was a different ball game compared to from the top (Nackington Road) end.

“Bowling in Canterbury as an off spinner is pretty tough, not many guys have got five-fers or even six-fers, so I was really proud to go out there and do a job for the team.”

Day One Report:

Centuries from Dane Vilas and Steven Croft took Lancashire to 344 for four on Day One of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Kent at Canterbury.

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Vilas hit a buccaneering 124 from 158 balls and made a stand of 215 with Steven Croft, who himself produced a more measured 113 not out from 270 deliveries, leaving the visitors in a commanding position at stumps.

Nathan Gilchrist took two for 66 and Matt Milnes two for 68, but after a promising start the hosts struggled throughout the final two sessions, frustrating the majority of a crowd of 1003 at the St. Lawrence.

Lancashire won the toss and chose to bat in broad sunshine, but the light quickly deteriorated and after an opening stand of 36 the breakthrough came when Gilchrist replaced Jackson Bird at the Pavilion End. His second ball found George Balderson’s edge, but it was dropped by a fumbling Zak Crawley at second slip, who failed to grab it three times before parrying it to Jordan Cox at first slip. Although Cox somehow spilled the rebound, it was the shortest possible reprieve for Balderson, who was caught behind off the next ball for seven.

Luke Wells had looked fluent early on but he then fell for 39, toe-ending Gilchrist to Ollie Robinson. When Milnes subsequently trapped Josh Bohannon LBW for 19 Lancashire were wobbling on 80 for 3, but if Kent had arguably shaded the first session, the visitors dominated the second, adding 149 runs and barely offering a chance.

Vilas cut Hamid Qadri to square leg to bring up his fifty in the 46th over and Croft reached the same landmark three overs later when he hit Darren Stevens through the covers for four.

Having reached 229 for 3 at tea, Lancashire continued to pile on the runs, Vilas reaching his 100 when he glanced Qadri past the slips for four, before he was eventually removed by the new ball when he slashed Milnes to Ben Compton at gully.

Milnes gave a roar of delight, relief and quite possibly both, but it was a rare moment of joy for Kent, who also lost Qadri to a hand injury during the evening session.

Croft reached three figures when glanced Bird off his hip for four and remained unbeaten at the close alongside Lancashire debutant Phil Salt, who was unbeaten on 33 after an aggressive cameo late in the day.

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Kent’s Nathan Gilchrist said: “In the first session there was a bit there for us, but from then on when the sun came out it just baked it a little and it was pretty tough work for the rest of the day.

“We stuck to our guns quite well, but it’s quite an easy-scoring wicket I think.

“With the new ball early on it was doing enough, but after that it was quite a grind, they batted really well and it was tough work for us. To be honest I don’t think we’re going to do much differently tomorrow, it’s the sort of wicket where you’ve just got be patient and hit the top of off, so hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”

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