Match Report: Lancashire vs. Kent

Match Report: Lancashire vs. Kent

The LV= Insurance County Championship continued at Emirates Old Trafford with Kent taking on Lancashire.

Day Four Report:

Lancashire completed an extraordinary comeback 20 minutes after Tea on the final day at Emirates Old Trafford as Kent were bowled out for 127 to hand the hosts victory.

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George Lavelle came out swinging at the start of Day Four, scoring a quick-fire 30 from 30 balls before gloving one from Nathan Gilchrist to Ollie Robinson.

From that point it was something of a procession with Matt Henry dispatching Luke Wood, Bailey and Williams cheaply with just 21 runs added to total as the New Zealander finished with 4-82 and Jones was left unbeaten on 65.

With Lancashire declaring on 436/9, Kent were left requiring a target of 312 runs to win from a minimum of 82 overs.

But Zak Crawley tried to leave a rising delivery from Bailey only to nick one through to Lavelle for four and leave Kent 6/1 in the third over.

It was then 6/2 as Ben Compton edged a good delivery from Williams to Lavelle for two before the same bowler trapped Joe Denly in front for 0.

At 10/3 it was hard to see how Kent would recover despite Daniel Bell-Drummond’s defiance at the other end giving them something to cling to as they made it to Lunch on 28/3.

It took until after Lunch for stand-in skipper Steven Croft to turn to spin but it proved a wide decision with Sundar immediately getting turn and bounce on the day four pitch.

It was this combination that would do for Kent’s own temporary skipper Jack Leaning when he was adjudged to have feathered a Sundar delivery to Lavelle.

Jordan Cox then fell to a turning delivery from Sundar that bowled the batter through the gate for one to leave Kent 74/5.

Ollie Robinson showed some determination as 41 was added for the sixth wicket before he was lbw to Bailey for 21.

Stewart then edged Baily to Lavelle without scoring to leave Lancashire needing three wickets after Tea.

Henry was stumped charging Sundar for three before Bailey bowled both Gilchrist and Navdeep Saini for 0.

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Daniel Bell-Drummond, Kent, said: “It is a tough one to take because we played some good cricket – especially in the first two days but all credit to Lancashire.

“The third innings of the game was an important one and Josh Bohannon batted really well. It was a day four wicket and one that was used so it was probably more of a day seven wicket so it was always going to be a challenge today against some good bowlers.

“It has been a really tricky wicket to work out – for the first few days there was a bit of weather about as well and it was doing a heck of a lot for both teams. I guess it was a good cricket wicket in the end but we’ve come out second best.

“I’m not one to moan but a couple of decisions didn’t go our way. Obviously it’s a tough job umpiring and I always respect the umpires so it’s just one of those things that sometimes goes against you. In my opinion the decisions went against us. These things happen and we would have been going up appealing because it’s part of the game but they were key moments.”

Day Three Report:

Conditions seemed to ease for the batting side as Lancashire took full advantage by building a lead of 252 going into the final day against Kent.

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The opening two days had seen wickets tumble on a regular basis with the hosts beginning their second innings late on Tuesday evening 125 runs behind Kent’s total of 270 and seemingly right up against it on a used pitch which has proved helpful to both teams’ seam bowlers.

But in total contrast to what had gone previously, just five wickets fell throughout the day as Wells and Bohannon put Lancashire in a stronger position going into the final day, with a lead of 252 runs and five wickets in hand after they closed on 377/5.

Resuming on 2/0, batting instantly looked easier for Wells and fellow opener Keaton Jennings with both Matt Henry and Navdeep Saini lacking the bite they had enjoyed during Lancashire’s first innings.

The opening pair had built a partnership of 54 off 14 overs and it was something of a surprise when Nathan Gilchrist made the breakthrough tempting Jennings to edge stiffly to stand in captain Jack Leaning at second slip for 14.

The wicket brought Bohannon to the crease and with both he and Wells enjoying recent centuries, the stage was set for a partnership that could define the match, should Lancashire somehow prevail.

Wells took the role of aggressor, moving to 50 for the fifth time in the Championship this season from 69 balls including five fours and so effective was the partnership, that Leaning was forced to turn to the part time bowlers Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond as his side’s lead began to shorten.

Bohannon had just reached his half-century after Lunch when Wells fell agonisingly short of a ton, edging Saini to a diving Leaning at second slip as the second wicket partnership ended on 117.

Despite the breakthrough there was little respite for Kent as Steven Croft joined Bohannon who was reminding everyone why earlier in the season he was being tipped by many to play for England’s Test side this summer.

Lancashire had built a lead of 139 when the 25-year-old brought up his century off 186 balls with 14 fours.

Croft, captaining the side due to Dane Vilas’ injured finger, was happy to play second fiddle to Bohannon and the pair had compiled a partnership of 109 for the third wicket when Henry got a delivery to jag back and bowl Croft for a patient 42.

Rob Jones was next to enter the fray and he and Bohannon looked to up the scoring rate against a beleaguered attack that was becoming increasingly reliant on Bell Drummond’s accuracy rather than Saini’s raw pace.

Bohannon eventually fell for 134, feathering a delivery from Grant Stewart to wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson by which time the lead was 228 and showing no sign of slowing down with the only respite coming when Leaning trapped Washington Sundar lbw for 10 just before the close.

There was just time for Jones to reach his half-century from 73 balls and with the incoming George Lavelle unbeaten on three.

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Ollie Robinson, Kent, said: “Lancashire are in the box seat now and they can drive the game however they want to play it whether that’s taking the draw or pushing for the win.

“We’ll obviously try and take wickets in the morning but ultimately it’s in Lancashire’s hands as to how the game goes.

“From everything I’ve heard the pitch has changed a bit from the first couple of days – it’s not swinging as much but it’s taking spin so I guess it will be a different challenge when it comes to batting but it’s a pretty good pitch to bat on now and they made it look easy today. Bohannon and Wells played beautifully.

“We have batted to save games quite a lot this season and actually done it quite well and although obviously we want to win I think a draw is the most likely outcome.”

Day Two Report:

Kent finished the happier of the two sides at the end of a captivating second day of this LV=Insurance Division One clash with Lancashire after building a substantial first innings lead over their hosts.

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Lancashire had been honest about their intentions to play on a pitch used just a few days before for England’s one day international match with India but their decision backfired somewhat when they were bowled out for just 145 in a ferocious morning session, mainly down to the bowling of Matt Henry, that saw nine wickets fall in 28 overs.

Half-centuries from Joe Denly, Jack Leaning and Grant Stewart saw a topsy turvy day swing in favour of the visitors who were dismissed for 270 replying to Lancashire’s 145 before the Red Rose closed on 2/0 at the beginning of their second innings.

The day began with the news that Kent captain Sam Billings had tested positive for Covid and was to be replaced by Ollie Robinson behind the stumps, with Leaning taking over as Captain.

It set the tone for a bizarre day which saw Washington Sundar play no shot to the second delivery of the morning from Matt Henry only to see the ball jag back and take out his off stump.

Two balls later and George Lavelle had departed, edging his second ball from Henry to Zak Crawley without scoring and 112-4 overnight had quickly become 112-6.

The excellent Henry was on a roll and Steven Croft was next to go for 31, caught behind by temporary wicket keeper Jordon Cox, who had donned the gloves as Kent awaited the arrival of Robinson.

Henry’s fourth quickly followed when Tom Bailey received a brute of a third delivery he’d faced that uprooted his stumps with Luke Wood handing the New Zealander his five for when he chipped a catch to Stewart at mid-on for 18.

By then Henry had taken 5-14 from 29 deliveries and Lancashire were all but done at 145/9 with Nathan Gilchrist picking up the final wicket of Will Williams to a great catch in the gully from Daniel Bell-Drummond with no addition the total.

Six wickets had fallen for 33 runs inside the first hour but the wickets didn’t stop there when Kent came out to bat with Ben Compton finding Sundar at Point off Bailey’s second ball of the reply without scoring, before Bell-Drummond was trapped lbw by Williams, to leave the visitors 5/2.

Meanwhile, Crawley was defending for his life and the England opener had faced 26 balls without getting off the mark when the 27th saw him clip Williams to a diving Wood at midwicket to leave Kent 12/3 off 10 overs and the Lancashire members wondering if they’d better make plans for Day Three.

It was left to Denly and Leaning to start the rebuild and they did it in painstaking fashion with the slow outfield meaning boundaries were at a premium and hard run threes the order of the day.

Leaning was dropped by Rob Jones at slip on 32, but by the time the century partnership came up for the fourth wicket off 212 balls, the sun was out at Emirates Old Trafford and batting was appearing a far easier prospect.

Denly finally departed just before Tea for 59 when he failed to remove his bat in time to a Bailey delivery and edged one to a grateful Lavelle, but the 106 partnership had put his county well on the way to a lead and changed the narrative of the day.

Or had it? Straight after the interval two wickets fell in an over for the second time in the day as Cox top edged a Bailey delivery to Wood for two before Robinson was lbw third ball for 0.

This left Kent 120/6 and Lancashire hopeful they could stay in the game with a narrow lead for the visitors.

It was not to be.

Just as Leaning had found a willing partner in Denly, Grant Stewart stepped up and the seventh wicket pair began building the second century partnership of the innings but with far more attacking intent.

Leaning would eventually depart just after 18:00 for 90 off 209 balls, edging Jack Morley to slip where Luke Wells took a fine catch low down to his right.

From there Stewart did his best to marshal the tail as a Henry nick behind gave Bailey his fifth wicket before Williams claimed his third by rearranging by Gilchrist’s stumps.

By the time Navdeep Saini skied one to Josh Bohannon for three to leave Bailey with figures of 6-64 and Stewart unbeaten on 64, Kent had a lead of 125 and Lancashire were forced to take to the field for two overs which were negotiated by Wells and Keaton Jennings.

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Jack Leaning, Kent, said: “If we’d have set out at the start of the day and said: ‘what do we want’ we’re probably not a million miles away from what we’d have wanted.

“To bowl them out early on and then to get a pretty sizeable lead on this pitch we are really happy.

“I was just trying to stick to a game plan – their seamers bowled really well and didn’t let up much. But we talked as a team about being really proactive against the spinners and not letting them settle even if that meant just rotating the strike and getting three or four runs an over. We did that really well as a unit.”

Day One Report:

Kent made the most of the conditions on a rain-shortened first day to seize the early advantage against Lancashire in this LV= Insurance County Championship match.

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After last week’s heatwave, Manchester reclaimed its reputation for inclement weather with rain and a strong wind battering the ground for most of the morning ensuring no play was possible until 15:00 before which the visitors had won the Toss and elected to bowl.

Only 34 overs and two balls were bowled but in that time Kent struck four times to have Lancashire on 112-4 before rain and bad light ended proceedings early with nearly 16 overs remaining.

It was Kent’s overseas quick Navdeep Saini who did most of the damage, taking three for 45 from the Brian Statham End including two wickets in two balls just after Tea.

Lancashire’s batters fought hard in conditions with Luke Wells top-scoring with 35 before receiving a near unplayable delivery from the India pacer and Josh Bohannon contributing a fluent 27.

The hosts’ openers Keaton Jennings and Wells made a steady start in tricky conditions against the international pace duo of Matt Henry and Saini after being put in to bat.

Both Kent bowlers found early movement on a wicket that had been covered for most of the previous two days.

Just as the first wicket pair looked to have weathered the storm, Saini produced a fine delivery to Jennings which was edged to Zak Crawley at second slip with the opener departing for 14 and the score 24/1.

Josh Bohannon combined well with Wells as the Red Rose pair took a positive approach, Bohannon cutting Grant Stewart for four off the back foot a particular highlight.

But after Bohannon had drilled Nathan Gilchrist through extra cover for four in reaching a fluent 27, the bowler hit back with the next ball finding an edge that was brilliantly caught low down at wide fourth slip by Jack Leaning.

That left Lancashire on 68/2 just before Tea and Wells and stand-in skipper Steven Croft had pushed on watchfully after the resumption to take the total on to 97 before two wickets fell in two balls to leave Lancashire floundering at 97/4.

It was Saini who did the damage again, producing a rearing delivery to Wells that the left hand opener could do little against, the ball flying off the edge to Leaning at gully as he departed for a pretty decent 35 given the conditions.

And it got worse for the Red Rose when Saini’s next delivery nipped back to pin Rob Jones lbw.

Croft (21 not out) and Washington Sundar (6 not out), playing at Emirates Old Trafford for the first time, negotiated a further six overs and two balls before rain and bad light brought an early end.

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Kent’s Nathan Gilchrist said: “We’re feeling really good and if felt like we really utilised the overs we did get in. Hopefully we can get early wickets in the morning.

“With the rain around and the covers being on it was a straightforward decision to bowl and to use the facilities. Hopefully the moisture can help us bowlers and it certainly has done so far.

“Saini and Henry are world class bowlers and you could see straight away the skill level they both have. It’s great to be part of an attack alongside them.”

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