Kent welcomed Surrey to Metropolitan Kent in their LV= Insurance County Championship match at The County Ground, Beckenham.
Day Four Report:
Division One leaders Surrey drew their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Kent after rain ruined the final day at Beckenham.
Just 9.2 overs were possible, with Kent moving from their overnight score of 82 for 1 to 114 for one during two mini sessions, still 327 runs behind Surrey’s first innings score of 671 for nine.
Surrey had been favourites after forcing Kent to follow on on day three, but conditions deteriorated throughout the day and play was abandoned at 3.48 pm, Kent taking 10 points and Surrey 16.
Ben Compton was unbeaten on 63, while night-watchman Matt Milnes was not out on 16 at stumps.
Day four began with a minute’s silence in memory of Andrew Symonds, who played for Kent between 1999 and 2004.
A break in the weather meant play started on time and the hosts resumed on 82 for one, still 359 behind. Conditions were overcast and the ball swung almost immediately but Compton reached 50 in the first over when he pulled Daniel Worrall for a single.
Light rain began to fall and the players went off after 29 minutes, Kent having moved to 108 without further loss. Lunch was taken early and although play resumed at 1.35pm, by then it was already raining again.
After nine increasingly moist minutes, during which Kent advanced to 114, the players came off again, Compton having added six to his score. After two further hours of waiting and with no prospect of improvement, the game was abandoned as a draw.
The draw lifts Kent off the bottom of the table ahead of Gloucestershire.
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Kent’s Matt Walker said: “It’s a sense of déjà vu really, we never were able to wrestle any advantage our way really. The spell after lunch on day one was really promising actually, but we have a moment where we’re ok and make some inroads and then I think the momentum slowly and gradually shifts and then accelerates.
“I think the problem we’ve had, on these better surfaces this season is there’s almost an air or resignation that comes across the ground. That’s not to say that any of the lads give up, but I think there’s a frustration and almost a sense of urgency to make things happen. Probably at the end of day we haven’t executed our skills well enough.
“There have been moments where we’ve been really good individually there’s been a lot of runs in the dressing room, individually there’s been some good spells of bowling but to get to where you want to get to in a four-day game, it’s got to be over the whole piece really.
“You can afford half an hour or so but you can’t afford a bad session and that’s what’s happened.
“We found ourselves very quickly out of the game. 671 for 9 – you’re not going to get anywhere near winning a game of cricket when that happens and you’re in a dog fight again.”
Day Three Report:
Kent are battling to save their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Surrey at Beckenham, having reached 82 for one in their second innings at stumps on day three.
The hosts are still 359 behind the Division One leaders’ total of 671 for nine, but Zak Crawley and Ben Compton batted through most of the evening session after Kent were forced to follow on.
Will Jacks bowled Crawley for 35 in the penultimate over of the day, but Compton is unbeaten on 47, alongside side night-watchman Matt Milnes, who is nought not out.
Earlier Jacks took his best first-class figures of four for 65, as Kent were dismissed for 230 in their first innings, while Jamie Overton took three for 33. Ollie Robinson’s was Kent’s top scorer with 71, while Ben Compton made 47.
Daniel Bell-Drummond lasted for 40 minutes after play began on Day Three, but was brilliantly caught by Ollie Pope in the slips off Jamie Overton for 13 and Jack Leaning made just nine before he was bowled by Jacks.
Overton was generating some serious hostility and Surrey thought he’d dismissed Compton when a fearsome delivery bounced up and knocked the left-hander’s helmet off his head and onto the stumps. However Compton was given not out after the umpires conferred, under an ECB regulation brought in before the 2021 season to encourage batters to wear helmets.
Surrey initially looked bewildered by the decision, but any tension was defused after coach Gareth Batty consulted the match referee Simon Hinks. “We’re all good,” Batty shouted at Overton, giving him the thumbs up. “Just do it again, chief.”
Overton followed up with five equally menacing deliveries, but after being checked out by medical staff Compton somehow survived the rest of the over, in more than one sense, only to be given out caught behind off Jacks in the next.
Jordan Cox then edged Worrall to Ben Foakes for 12, leaving Kent in deep trouble on 116 for five at lunch.
Kent’s hopes of avoiding the follow on took a further hit when Overton bowled Darren Stevens for seven, ripping out his off stump and Jacks then removed George Linde, who was caught in the slips by Rory Burns for 26.
Milnes had made 13 when Colin de Grandhomme had him caught by Pope and the biggest home cheer of the afternoon came when Nathan Gilchrist avoided making his seventh consecutive duck when he hit the same bowler for three.
Any delight Gilchrist had at evading what would have been a first-class record faded when he was caught by Sam Curran off Jacks for five and Robinson’s defiance ended, along with Kent’s first innings, when he hit Overton to Jacks with the final ball before tea.
Kent badly needed to win a session and did so for arguably they first time in the match, with Compton and Crawley resisting for nearly two hours. At one point Sam Curran came into the attack, bowling spin, but the visitors were frustrated until Crawley played on to Jacks, leaving Milnes to bat through to the close.
Kent’s Ollie Robinson said: “I think we’re obviously disappointed not to get more in the first innings, but the boys showed a lot of fight there and it be a turning point for us if we get through tomorrow unscathed and get out with a draw.
“They bowled beautifully and fair play to them. I didn’t kind of feel that good today, but it was one of those situations where you just grind it out. The runs weren’t really the objective for me, I was just trying to take time out of the game and make tomorrow as short of possible.
“It was a bit of a grind, I didn’t feel fluent but I’m pretty happy. I was disappointed to get out at the end, it would have been nice to be not out. The key I being patient and staying positive because the moment you get negative you tend to get yourself in a bit of a pickle.
“It was a tough start to the year, but it’s nice to finally find a bit of form. It’s a strange one because I never really felt I was out of form, just out of runs. Every time I batted I still felt confident. It was the first time I’d really doubted myself in the first three games, so to prove it to myself that I can do it again is a nice feeling.”
Day Two Report:
Surrey posted 671 for nine on Day Two of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Beckenham, before reducing Kent to 45 for one, a deficit of 626.
Ben Compton and Daniel Bell-Drummond were the not out batters at stumps on 14 and 7, after Dan Worrall removed England’s Zak Crawley for 17.
Kent went into Day Two needing quick the wickets that might keep them in the contest and they struck early when Foakes edged Matt Quinn behind.
Surrey responded with an impressive partnership between Overton and Curran. Overton produced an array of shots and raced past 50 with successive fours off George Linde.
Overton subsequently hit Stevens for a six that cleared the stand and smacked Stevens’ next delivery for a maximum over the sightscreen, but he was out in the next over, bowled by Linde, seven runs short of his second first class century. The dismissal meant Surrey became the first team ever to lose three consecutive batsman in the nineties in first-class cricket, following Pope’s departure late on Day One.
Surrey were 470 for six at lunch and although Curran was stumped on 78 off Linde, de Grandhomme became the sixth Surrey batter to score a half-century when he took two from Gilchrist.
Will Jacks was out for 20 when he swiped Gilchrist to square leg, where Cox took a low catch, before de Grandhomme was eventually run out by Quinn.
Tea was delayed until 16:34 at which point Surrey declared, leaving Worrall unbeaten on 44.
Kent were left with 19 overs to navigate until Stumps but lost Crawley, who was caught behind at the start of the eleventh over.
Kent’s Jack Leaning said: “There are some pretty tired bodies up there to be honest but we’ve understood it’s a pretty good pitch. We know that we were under par with the ball and as a batting unit now it’s our turn to stand up and do what they’ve done to us and post a massive score.
“I just think we were lacking a bit of consistency throughout the innings. In patches we were very good, certainly what we showed after lunch on day one is what we’re capable of as a bowling unit, but I don’t think we quite did that for long enough. The pitch is a good one and the balls get soft as they get older, but credit to them, they batted well and didn’t really give us a sniff to be honest.
“As soon as you take the mindset of just batting time I think you lose your intent and it allows a team to bowl at you. We’ve got a big two days ahead of us and hopefully we can come out of it with at least a draw.”
Day One Report:
Division One leaders Surrey reached 318 for four at stumps, on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship with Kent at Beckenham.
Ollie Pope hit 96 in a stand of 178 with Ben Foakes, who was unbeaten on 86, while opener Ryan Patel made 76.
The division’s bottom side had reduced Surrey to 123 for three shortly after lunch, but despite two for 73 from Nathan Gilchrist, Kent laboured for most of the day.
Backed by a sizable number of travelling fans, Surrey won the toss and chose to bat, to a collective groan from the home fan base, demoralised after conceding 500 runs or more in every first innings so far this season.
Their initial pessimism proved well-grounded as openers Rory Burns and Patel were almost entirely unmolested during the morning session. Aside from an edge from the latter that just eluded the slips, Surrey suffered few alarms and Patel brought up his 50 when he pulled Gilchrist for four.
They were 105 without loss at lunch, only for Kent to drag themselves back into contention with three wickets for 17 runs at the start of the afternoon session. Patel slashed Matt Quinn to Zak Crawley at first slip and Burns was then lbw to Gilchrist for 30.
Hashim Amla made just 12 when he feathered the same bowler behind and for the next hour the scoring rate slowed, but Pope and Foakes tilted the momentum back in Surrey’s favour by batting through the rest of the session.
Pope then drove Darren Stevens for two to pass fifty, helping the visitors to 206 for three at tea. In a one-sided evening session, Foakes took a single from Daniel Bell-Drummond to reach his half-century, but Pope fell short of three figures when he was strangled down the leg side by Stevens.
It was the first time Pope had been dismissed in the nineties in county cricket, but although Stevens looked threatening in the gathering gloom, Kent were unable to inflict any further damage, with Jamie Overton unbeaten on 12 at stumps.
Kent’s bowling coach Simon Cook said: “Losing the toss here is never a good thing so from that point of view it was obviously a little bit of a disappointing start to the day, but having said that, 300 odd runs in a day on a very wicket we’re not too disappointed.
“We controlled the run rate, and we’d have liked to have bowled better in the first session in particular, but how the boys came back, in that session in particular when we got 3 for 23 and got a reward for hitting good lengths more consistently kind of dragged us back into it.
“If we were two more wickets on we’d be very, very happy with the day. When you look at this ground you need 450 or 550 and that comes with a bit of pressure as well, so that’s what we have to keep reminding the Surrey batters. They’ve not got away from us yet and two or three quick wickets tomorrow and we’re right in this game.”