Match Report: Lancashire vs. Kent

Match Report: Lancashire vs. Kent

Kent faced Lancashire in their fourth Vitality County Championship match of the season, at Emirates Old Trafford.

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Day Four Report:

Daniel Bell-Drummond made an unbeaten 79 to steer his side to a deserved seven-wicket victory over Lancashire in the Vitality County Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford.

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The Kent skipper has now passed fifty in four of his eight innings this season but he and the other Kent batters had to withstand a trial by spin before reaching their target of 164 and completing their county’s first win on the ground since 1997.

However, it was noticeable that Kent’s top order managed to keep the scoreboard moving even when batting was difficult and Lancashire bowled no maidens on the final day.

Both the wickets to fall were taken by Lyon, who caught and bowled Ben Compton for 29, thus ending his 86-run stand with Bell-Drummond, before having Jack Leaning caught at slip by Luke Wells for 16. But those wickets never threatened to prompt a collapse and the game ended in a flurry of boundaries as the visitors completed their first win of the season eight minutes before the scheduled lunch interval.

Joe Denly struck the winning four to finish on 19 not out. Lyon took two for 48 from 22 overs while Hartley bowled 13 wicketless overs for 42 runs

It is Kent’s first Championship victory over Lancashire since 2013 and it moves them up to sixth in the First Division table. Lancashire are still without a win this season and remain bottom of the pile.

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Kent batter and captain, Daniel Bell-Drummond, said: “We’re really happy and the guys are just soaking it in at the moment to be honest.

“It’s been a brilliant four days and the guys have worked so hard. These wins don’t come easy for us so we have to build on this and take the confidence going forwards.

“Both Wes Agar and Nathan Gilchrist bowled brilliantly. It was world-class bowling that bowled them out very cheaply in the first innings and put us in the box-seat in the game. They were hungry to get back into it and they really showed their class.

“It was a tough little period for us this morning. Ben Compton and I knew we had to get through it and I tried to take the attack to them as much as possible. I found it very tough but I backed my technique, backed my defence and I was glad to be not out at the end.

“It always helps to lead from the front as a captain but it was a team effort and the guys have put in a shift. Joey Evison is really batting well at the moment and we now need to go again in the game with Worcestershire.

“We’ll respect Worcestershire because they’re a very good team and they have some very good bowlers in their attack. But we know how the pitch at Canterbury is going to play and we’re really looking forward to that clash.

“These wins are not easy to come by, so hopefully we can go from strength to strength. This is a very proud day for me but now we have three days off and then we’re back to it.”

Day Three Report:

Kent need 93 runs with nine wickets in hand to clinch victory on the final day of the Vitality County Championship match with Lancashire tomorrow, after the Spitfires dismissed Lancashire for 332 following-on on Day Three, setting a chase of 164.

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However, faced with what seemed a tricky chase, Ben Compton and Daniel Bell-Drummond made light of the loss of Zak Crawley for one and had steered their side to 71 for one at the close.

The morning session began badly for Lancashire when Tom Bruce was bowled for 12 when playing down the wrong line to Wes Agar.

George Balderson and George Bell then put together a 75-run partnership for the sixth wicket that was only ended when Balderson, having made a composed 48, attempted to cut a ball from Jack Leaning and edged a catch to Bell-Drummond in the gully.

However, Balderson and Bell’s stand had ensured that Lancashire avoided an innings defeat and their calm accumulation was maintained by Bell and Matty Hurst either side of lunch.

Bell reached his second fifty of the season off 114 balls when he pulled a short ball from Joe Denly to the midwicket boundary but was well caught by Harry Finch for 65 when he couldn’t avoid a good ball from Agar and edged a catch wide to the keeper’s right.

But the pair’s seventh-wicket stand of 78 had extended their side’s lead to 106 and the good work was continued by Hurst and Tom Hartley, with the former reaching his fifty off 134 balls with only one four.

Hurst and Hartley brought up their side’s third 50-plus partnership of the day shortly after tea but any hopes Lancashire might set their opponents a target in excess of 200 were quickly extinguished when they lost their last three wickets for as many runs in 15 balls.

The patient Hurst was caught at slip by Bell-Drummond off Parkinson for 58, Tom Bailey was leg before to Agar for a single and then Hartley was bowled round his legs by Parkinson for 35 to leave the Kent leg-spinner with figures of three for 70 on his return to Old Trafford.  Agar took three for 65 and returned match figures of seven for 100.

Kent’s pursuit of their modest target began with difficulty when Zak Crawley was leg before to Balderson’s seventh ball of the innings for one but Ben Compton and Daniel Bell-Drummond survived a series of confident appeals, many of them coming from Nathan Lyon.

The turn extracted by Hartley and Lyon in the evening session suggests that Kent’s pursuit might not be completely straightforward on the final day.

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Wes Agar, Kent seamer, said: “To make them follow-on put us in a position of power but we knew it would be harder in their second innings. I’m really proud of the way we kept fighting to create chances.

“It was a very different day today. With the Sun out we had to put more energy into the wicket but Lancashire are a tough team and they are known for that.

“To watch the boys go out tonight under pressure and to be only one down at close of play is something that I’m really proud of and we’re really proud of as a group.

“Parky bowls 40 overs and goes at two an over. He’s always asking questions and he’s so consistent. A lot of spinners have to be patient and Parky showed immense skill and immense control today. I’m really glad he got his wickets at the end. On a hot day, the spinners do give us that rest and allow us to have energy on the new ball when it becomes available. If we’re tired, it just gets away from us.

“I’m loving being back at Kent, it’s like a home away from home for me.”

Day Two Report:

Nathan Gilchrist took a career-best six for 24 to help Kent take complete control of their Vitality County Championship match on a dramatic afternoon at Emirates Old Trafford.

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Replying to the visitors’ 261, Keaton Jennings’ side were bowled out for 92 in 30 overs, with both Gilchrist and Wes Agar, who bagged four for 35, making the most of cloudy conditions.

Presented with the luxury of a 169-run first-innings lead, the Kent skipper, Daniel Bell-Drummond, chose to enforce the follow-on and his decision was justified as Lancashire lost three wickets for as many runs late in the day to finish on 119 for four, still 50 runs in arrears.

In the 40 minutes’ play that had been possible before lunch, Kent resumed on 203 for seven and added 36 runs for the loss of Agar, who was bowled for 13 when he went back to a quicker delivery from Lyon that turned through the gate.

The new ball was taken immediately after lunch and brought immediate dividends when Gilchrist was caught behind by Matty Hurst off Tom Bailey for 10, but Matthew Parkinson, who was playing his first innings at Emirates Old Trafford since he left Lancashire for Kent, ensured that his new team would collect a bonus point when he edged two runs through the slip cordon.

That, however, was the extent of the last man’s modest heroics as he was caught behind for three two overs later, thus giving Will Williams his 200th wicket in first-class cricket. Joey Evison ended the innings unbeaten on 71, his runs scored off 150 balls, ten of which he hit for four.

The value of Evison’s 198-minute innings was soon apparent as Lancashire collapsed to 40 for seven in 17.4 overs. Luke Wells was the first to go when he edged Agar to Jack Leaning and departed for 10 but the disintegration really gathered pace when the home side lost four wickets for five runs in ten balls.

Josh Bohannon cover-drove Gilchrist for four but lost his middle stump next ball when he inside-edged an attempted pull into his wicket. Next over, skipper Keaton Jennings nicked behind to Adam Finch for four when caught half-forward by Agar, who then trapped Tom Bruce lbw first ball.

The tumble of wickets continued next over when George Bell nicked Gilchrist to Finch and the same bowler had George Balderson caught at slip by Denly for two to leave Lancashire in tatters. The mayhem continued when Tom Hartley’s wild slash to a ball outside the off stump merely gave Zak Crawley his first catch and Gilchrist his fourth wicket.

Lancashire’s disastrous afternoon continued when Tom Bailey was caught down the leg side off Agar for five but some defiance was shown by Hurst, who hit three fours and two sixes in an innings of 36 that took his side past 61, their lowest first-class score against Kent, which they made at Old Trafford in 1884.

Hurst became Gilchrist’s fifth wicket when he pulled him straight to Zak Crawley at deep midwicket and the innings ended when Williams edged a ball from Gilchrist to give Finch his fourth catch.

In their second innings, Wells and Jennings immediately took the attack to Kent’s new-ball attack. The fifty partnership came up in the ninth over and the aggression continued even after Wells had been caught at slip by Leaning off Gilchrist.

Josh Bohannon helped his skipper add a further 51 before he was caught by Leaning off Evison for 31 when attempting a drive and Lancashire suffered another crucial blow when Jennings was brilliantly stumped by Finch off Parkinson for 40. Will Williams lasted only one ball before being bowled by Gilchrist for a single.

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Kent bowler, Nathan Gilchrist, said: “Obviously we’re very positive after today. We bowled in some really good conditions but as a group I thought we performed really well.

“Wes Agar bowled really well and then my job was made quite easy. I just had to run in and keep things really simple. The ball was doing a fair bit and on days like these it’s really pleasing when the hard work paid off.

“Following on was quite a simple decision because the conditions were still in our favour but we probably didn’t make the most of it  at the start of their second innings. But getting our wickets has made it a lot easier going into the third day.

“I was a deep point when Harry Finch made his stumping and it was unreal. It was great work from him and I’m not sure even he expected to make that stumping.

“It’s always nice to do well against your previous county and I think Matt Parkinson was enjoying being on top for most of today. He’s always a good laugh in the field and it was nice to have him around today.

“Realistically I’m nowhere near my best considering I’ve only played five games in the last 18 months but days like today give you a lot of confidence going into the next few games.”

Day One Report:

Kent’s Joey Evison made his third fifty of the season as the Spitfires put on 203/7 against Lancashire on the first day of their Vitality County Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford.

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Evison was helped by Grant Stewart, with whom he put on 69 for the seventh wicket, a stand in which both batters took the attack to Lancashire’s Test spinners, Nathan Lyon and Tom Hartley, on a gloomy afternoon in Manchester.

The pair came together with their side placed on 129 for six after George Balderson had taken three prime wickets in 28 balls, but their calculated aggression had enabled the visitors to reach 203 for seven, with Evison unbeaten on 50, when rain arrived five overs into the evening session and prevented any chance of a resumption.

But Evison and Stewart’s aggression was in sharp contrast to the watchful opening 75 minutes of the day, in which 45 runs were scored in 17 overs. However, Kent then lost three wickets in four overs. Ben Compton was the first to go when he pushed forward to a delivery from Balderson and was caught by wicketkeeper Matty Hurst for 13.

Zak Crawley then stroked a trio of fine fours off successive balls from Balderson but was dismissed for 41 in the next over when his cover drive to Will Williams nicked a catch to Hurst. And Lancashire’s best period of the morning was completed a few minutes later when Balderson nipped one away from Daniel Bell-Drummond and the Kent skipper was caught by George Bell at third slip for three.

Jack Leaning was bowled for four when a ball from Balderson snaked inside his loose off drive and knocked back the leg stump. That meant Kent had lost four wickets for 27 runs and it left the home side poorly placed on 76 for four at lunch.

Matters got no better for Kent on the resumption when Harry Finch was pinned on the crease by Williams for three to leave the visitors on 83 for five. However, Evison showed no sign of being overawed and put on 46 with Joe Denly, who then tried to take on Jennings, the long-on fielder, and was caught by the Lancashire skipper off Lyon for 18.

By mid-afternoon Lyon was bowling in tandem with Hartley, a tactic to which Evison and Stewart responded with selective attack rather than dull quiescence. Stewart showed a particular keenness to swat Lyon through the off side whenever the Australian pitched short and brought up the pair’s fifty partnership when he thumped Hartley over long-on for six.

Only six balls could be bowled after tea before a brief interruption for rain and shortly after the players returned, Evison reached his fifty off 117 balls with a single off Lyon. But joy in the away dressing-room was short-lived as Stewart was caught by Luke Wells off the very next delivery when he pushed forward with uncharacteristic caution and nicked a catch to slip.

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Kent all-rounder, Grant Stewart, said: “In the first hour of play, it looked like there wasn’t a helluva lot going on but then there was a period there when it looked as though everything was going on. But Joey steadied the ship there and then Joe Denly faced a lot of balls and consolidated the innings.

“We’re probably a few short of where we want to be but we’ll fight again tomorrow and hopefully get a few more.

“It’s good to be back and Joey’s been one of our form batters, so it was nice to be out there with him and to try and feed him some of the strike.”


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