Matt Coles Takes Six as Spitfires Win

Sunday 6th May 2012

Men’s First Team

Matt Coles continued his devastating form against Yorkshire this season by snatching six for 32 to put Kent on course for a four-wicket victory in the CB40 League Group C curtain-raiser at Headingley.

The 22-year old all-rounder, who has been included in the England Lions squad for the match against West Indies, scored his maiden century in the opening Championship fixture on the ground and in the return clash at Canterbury he claimed four wickets in Yorkshire's only innings.

Coles picked up his scalps in two lethal bursts which restricted Yorkshire to 175 for nine, and although Kent had only four balls to spare at the end, they were never put under any undue pressure.

Sam Billings and Rob Key made a sound start to the Kent reply with a 57 stand in 13 overs, the partnership being broken when Billings hit Azeem Rafiq high to Iain Wardlaw on the mid-wicket boundary.

Rafiq had Alex Blake lbw flush in front of his stumps and he held on well when Key drilled back a catch to leave him with figures of three for 22, but Darren Stevens snuffed out any real chance of a Yorkshire fightback.

Consecutive boundaries off Steve Patterson hurried him to 49 and a single took him to his half-century from 41 balls with seven fours.

Stevens helped himself to a couple more fours against Moin Ashraf and Brendan Nash played his part too, but when the stand was worth 65 in 12 overs, off-spinner Joe Root started a new spell and Stevens drove his first ball to Gary Ballance at long on.

With the game almost won, Sam Northeast was lbw to Ashraf and the scores were level in the penultimate over when Root sent back Nash, leaving Jones to make the winning run.

Yorkshire never fully regained their poise after making a nightmare start to their innings which saw them reduced to 22 for four in six overs.

The slump began when Joe Sayers attempted to drive Mark Davies but only succeeded in edging to James Tredwell in the slips, and Coles set out on his destructive trail by comprehensively bowling Phil Jaques before he had scored.

Jonny Bairstow presented Coles with a return catch and the bowler followed up by pinning Ballance lbw first ball to give him three wickets for 11 runs off his first three overs.

Skipper Andrew Gale had watched on in dismay from the other end while the wickets toppled, but he and Root made a determined effort to repair the damage, Gale lofting Stevens for four with a straight drive and then just clearing Billings on the mid-wicket boundary with a sweetly struck six.

The fifth wicket pair had added 70 in 19 overs when Gale appeared distraught at being given out lbw to Stevens off a ball which may have found the inside edge first. He had made 44 from 84 deliveries, striking four fours and a six.

Adil Rashid got moving with some delicate late cuts and Root continued to bat with calm authority until he squirted a drive at Adam Ball straight into the hands of Northeast at backward point.

Coles returned to create further havoc, Rafiq driving him to Stevens at long-off and Patterson getting himself into a tangle against a slower ball which he spooned down the legside for Jones to take the catch.

The shot-of-the-day belonged to Rashid with his extra-cover six off Ball before he became the last of Coles's six victims, picking out Stevens on the long off boundary having scored a bright 32 off as many balls and leaving Ashraf and Wardlaw to bat out the overs.

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Photo Sarah Ansell