The LV= Insurance County Championship returned as Kent make the trip to Emirates Old Trafford to face Lancashire.
Day Four Report:
A defiant half-century from Jack Leaning enabled Kent to cling on for a draw at Emirates Old Trafford in the LV= Insurance County Championship.
Leaning’s unbeaten 53 from 199 balls ensured the visitors were eight down at the close of Day Four of a rain-affected match since James Anderson’s seven for 19 helped dismiss Kent for just 74 in their first innings.
Lancashire pushed hard for the win with Tom Hartley’s best first-class figures of four for 42 giving them more than a sniff as the clock ticked down on a gloomy afternoon in Manchester.
Play got underway at 13:10 with Lancashire declaring overnight on 259 for nine and a first innings deficit of 185 for Kent to contend with.
Subtract the England-bound Zak Crawley from the equation and this looked a big ask for a batting line up blown away by James Anderson in similar conditions on Day Two.
That impression was strengthened in the fourth over when Ollie Robinson was dismissed by Luke Wood and was caught by wicketkeeper Dane Vilas for two.
Anderson quickly weighed in with his 1,003rd first class wicket after Jordan Cox edged one to Rob Jones at second slip whose parry found its way into the hands of a grateful Luke Wells standing next to him.
Kent were suddenly 31 for two and their prospects worsened when skipper Joe Denly clipped from Danny Lamb’s first over straight to Alex Davies at midwicket for 17 to leave the visitors 40 for three.
With the fourth day pitch expected to turn, Lancashire might have rued Matt Parkinson’s England call up but the leg spinner’s replacement has been in fine form in the Vitality Blast and Hartley claimed Harvey Kuhn for his first red ball wicket of the season when the South African edged to Wells at slip for 21.
When Crawley’s substitute, Tawanda Muyeye, was trapped in front by Hartley for seven, swiftly followed in the same way by Darren Stevens for 17 courtesy of Wells’ part time leg spin, the writing was on the wall for Kent at 129 for six with only Leaning offering any resistance.
Just before the last hour was called, Hartley struck again, claiming two wickets in the three balls as first Matt Milnes edged behind for two and then Harry Podmore was clean bowled for a duck.
But Leaning and a very impressive James Logan, who finished unbeaten on three, hung on to see out time and allow Kent a share of the spoils.
Jack Leaning, Kent batsman, said: “It was good fun because I quite enjoy those battles where you have to get stuck in. It was quite fitting that two Yorkie boys stopped the Lanky boys winning!
“Obviously we have not played our best cricket in this game and to come out of the game with only two fewer points than Lancashire doesn’t seem fair but it’s nice to come out of the game like that.
“It’s always nice to play Lancashire, even though I am now a Kent lad and loving life down there, there is always a bit of niggle and a few fun words exchanged.
“If we’re being honest our form in the Championship has not been at its best this year but the T20 gives us a chance to free up and enjoy ourselves – maybe we need to bring a little bit of that into four day cricket.”
Day Three Report:
An unbeaten half century from Lancashire all-rounder Luke Wood set up a potentially match-winning total at Emirates Old Trafford with Kent going into the final day of a rain-affected match trailing by 185 runs after the hosts closed on 259 for nine.
Wood batted throughout the majority of a third day which saw 51 overs sent down. Both teams were forced to make changes following the overnight news that England’s entire ODI squad was to be replaced with Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson and Kent’s Zak Crawley both heading south to Bristol.
No play was possible until deep into the afternoon and it was 15:00 when Steven Croft and Rob Jones strode out with Lancashire 108 for five and clutching a slender lead of 34 runs.
Just nine runs had been added when Croft shouldered arms to a lovely nip-backer from Darren Stevens and turned around in shock to see it had clipped his off stump.
Wood came in to join Jones and the seventh wicket pair began to try to distinguish any Kent hopes of keeping the lead to a manageable margin.
By Tea the hosts were 155 for six and looking secure with a priceless 50 partnership coming up soon after the interval.
Jones was three short of his half-century when the impressive James Logan got one to spin sharply and induce an edge to Stevens at slip ending a partnership of 69 runs that had taken the lead to 112.
Logan quickly added another when Danny Lamb top-edged to Stevens for two, but the incoming Tom Hartley, who replaced the England-bound Parkinson, was able to give support to Wood who brought up his half-century from 98 balls as Lancashire’s lead tipped over the 150 mark.
Batting with a freedom against the spin of Logan, Jack Leaning and Joe Denly, the ninth wicket pair brought up their 50 partnership with five overs left and had extended the Red Rose’s lead to 174 when Hartley was caught at second slip by Jordan Cox off Matt Quinn for a useful 24.
After play, James Logan said: “We didn’t go as well as we wanted with the bat and it’s put us behind in the game but I think as a bowling unit we’ve stuck at it and bowled quite well in long periods.
“It is very frustrating when they get partnerships but it’s about sticking in and not trying to chase that wicket because that’s when you can go for a few boundaries rather than staying tight. Hopefully we can now bat well and save the game.
“It’s gone well for me personally and the first wicket yesterday meant a lot as I’m trying to do my best and impress the coach and everyone. On a personal level I’m happy but it would be nice if we can save the game.”
Day Two Report:
History was made during an astonishing afternoon of cricket at Emirates Old Trafford as Lancashire’s James Anderson claimed both his 1,000th first class wicket and his best career bowling figures of seven for 19.
Anderson’s exploits ensured Kent were dismissed for just 74 in a shade over two hours after the players finally took to the field at 14:00 on the second day following almost incessant rain throughout the first four sessions of the game.
Taking the new ball Anderson, 38, took a wicket in each of his first three overs, before adding four more as Kent’s top order were blown away in an extraordinary spell from the Burnley-born bowler whose previous best figures were his seven for 42 for England against West Indies in 2017.
The wickets of Zak Crawley, edging to Rob Jones at second slip without scoring, Jordan Cox, edging to Luke Wells at first slip for one and Ollie Robinson, feathering one through to wicket keeper Dane Vilas for 0, were near identical examples of Anderson’s mastery of swing and reduced Kent to five for three.
Jack Leaning became Anderson’s 999th victim when he edged to Jones for two before the stage was set for South African Heino Kuhn to become England’s leading Test wicket taker’s 1,000th scalp, 19 years after Surrey’s Ian Ward became his first.
Typically, Anderson didn’t stop there, taking his sixth wicket with the dismissal of Matt Milnes in his next over for one as Vilas claimed another catch after Danny Lamb spoilt Anderson’s chances of a 10 for by trapping Joe Denly in front for 12.
Anderson’s seventh wicket arrived in the 17th over with Vilas taking his fourth catch off the veteran bowler to dismiss Harry Podmore for three to leave Kent 34 for eight and looking every inch a side without a win in the LV=Insurance County Championship this season.
Only 45-year-old Darren Stevens offered any kind of resistance, bashing four boundaries in his knock of 19 before Lamb had him caught at mid off with the same bowler also accounting for James Logan who became the last wicket to fall for 11.
Both Lamb’s three for 16 and Vilas’ five catches were of course overshadowed by Anderson’s efforts and he received a standing ovation from the ecstatic crowd as he walked off as only the 13th Lancashire bowler to complete the feat of a 1,000 first class wickets and becoming the first fast bowler to do it since Ken Higgs in 1968 and the first of any Red Rose bowler since Jack Simmons in 1988.
With many observers still confused by Kent’s decision to bat first, Lancashire’s openers entered the fray after tea and quickly looked like they were playing a different game.
Alex Davies was his usual busy self, scampering singles and hitting five fours and a six in his 43-ball 47 as he compiled an opening stand of 64 with Keaton Jennings before mistiming a cut shot off Matt Quinn through to Jordan Cox at first slip.
More late drama was to follow as Jennings and Luke Wells fell in consecutive balls to Quinn and Milnes with Vilas departing soon after to Stevens before Josh Bohannon was bowled by Kent debutant James Logan to leave the hosts 108 for five at the close.
Matt Quinn, Kent bowler, said: “It was a tough day and obviously it didn’t go how we wanted it to with the bat but I thought we bowled well as a group.
“I try and build pressure and for me it was more about not going for runs but it’s always nice to take some wickets and I’m pretty pleased to get the openers out.
“As a bowling unit we knew what our job was and we’re pretty pleased with how we went about it.
“Jimmy Anderson is a very special bowler but I had no idea about the 1,000th wicket. I realised pretty quickly that something was happening with all the fireworks around the ground!”
Day One Report:
No play was possible on the first day of Kent’s trip to Manchester, with rain delaying the Toss, which will now take place on the morning of Day Two.
Proceedings were eventually abandoned at 15:30 with little prospect of the poor weather abating over Manchester.
Kent will be searching for their first Championship win of 2021, with weather dampening many chances of victories in the competition to date.
Lancashire named James Anderson in their line-up as he prepares for England’s forthcoming Test series against India, starting early next month.
This Championship match is one of two that Kent will play in the next two weeks, with the 169th Canterbury Cricket Week falling with the visit of Sussex to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence from 11 July.
In between Kent’s next two first-class matches is an oldest rivalry Vitality Blast match against Surrey at The Kia Oval.
NEXT HOME MATCH
Sussex make the journey to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in the LV= Insurance County Championship, forming the 169th Canterbury Cricket Week, the oldest cricket festival in England.
Be in with a chance of winning Darren Stevens’ signed match-worn Vitality Blast shirt by buying any piece of Samurai Sportswear Kent Cricket merchandise online or in-store before 18 July.