Middlesex secure victory despite batting heroics from Khan and Cook

Thursday 6th August 2009

Amjad Khan scored a heroic unbeaten 62 in a losing cause

Kent v Middlesex LV County Championship Division 2, day three, Canterbury.
By Mark Pennell
Middlesex 17pts, Kent 3pts.
MIDDLESEX secured their maiden victory of the championship season and their first triumph on Kentish soil in 26 years after dismissing Kent for 287 to win by 47 runs with a session and a day to spare.
Though Kent will stay top of the LV Championship second division, the defeat undoubtedly took the gloss of Canterbury Cricket Week as the hosts fell short of reaching their 335-run victory target.
But for a swashbuckling last wicket stand worth 86 in 20 overs between Amjad Khan with a season“s best 62 not out and 27 from Simon Cook the victory margin would have been much wider as Murali Kartik reeled off 29 overs unchanged from the Pavilion End to spin Middlesex to victory with figures of four for 53.
Resuming on their parlous overnight total of 49 for two, Kent suffered their first casualty in the fifth over of the day when opener Joe Denly (25), who added only one to his overnight total, fenced at one from Steve Finn and edged to Murali Kartik at second slip.
That brought together Northeast and van Jaarsveld for a fourth-wicket stand worth 75 in 25 overs. Northeast did well to survive a stern test of character as left-armer Kartik reeled off the overs to a packed, close field to the teenage right-hander, but the partnership ended two overs before lunch.
Having posted a 118-ball 50 with six fours, van Jaarsveld drove airily outside off stump against all-rounder Gareth Berg to edge to Eoin Morgan at slip and send Kent into the break on a low note.
Things worsened after the break when Darren Stevens (4), seemingly playing around his front pad, went leg-before to Tim Murtagh, then Northeast“s 140-minute vigil for 37 ended when he fenced at a spitting delivery from Murali Kartik to glove a catch to first slip.
All-rounder Azhar Mahmood then capped a miserable game with the bat by bagging a pair; he went half forward to one from Kartik that kept low to fall leg before for a third-ball duck.
Then, 16 runs later, James Tredwell (11) in aiming to break Kartik“s stranglehold, came down the pitch aiming a lofted drive over the leg-side only to miss the ball and lose his middle stump.
Justin Kemp (30) helped post the 200 by taking 15 off an over from Berg including a six and two fours but, in the very next over Kemp went right back on his stumps to a Kartik top-spinner to fall leg before after missing a flick through mid-wicket.
Cook and Khan went for their shots thereafter to take Kent within touching distance, Khan racing to his first 50 of the summer from 32 balls with eight fours and a six to delay the tea interval.
But the fun ended just after 4pm when Cook edged an attempted drive against Murtagh to first slip to give Middlesex their first win over Kent within the Garden of England since their four-wicket success at Hesketh Park, Dartford, back in 1983.
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