Ntini stars as Kent complete remarkable win over Durham

Monday 24th May 2010

LV County Championship Division One
Durham v Kent
24 to 27 May 2010

Kent win by an innings and four runs

Durham first innings: 121 all out, 34.5 overs
Stokes 27, Claydon 22*, Rushworth 16
Khan 5-43, Ntini 4-53, Coles 1-20

Kent first innings: 320 all out, 63 overs
Stevens 102, Key 40, Coles 34
Claydon 3-50, Plunkett 3-94, Rushworth 2-72

Durham second innings: 195 all out, 54.3 overs
Di Venuto 86, Stokes 53, Mustard 16
Ntini 6-51, Khan 2-29, Cook 2-43

By Sam Dixon

Makhaya Ntini (pictured) signed off in style as his six wickets helped Kent sweep to a stunning innings and four run victory over title holders Durham inside two days at the Riverside.

The South African legend, playing his final championship game of a five-week stint with the county, bowled an astonishing spell just before tea as he took all five remaining Durham wicket. The home side slumping from 172-5 to 195 all out as Kent claimed their first four-day win of the season.

An eventful first over of the day saw Darren Stevens reach a well deserved three figures; a knock that included 11 fours and three maximums, before he chopped onto his stumps as Mitch Claydon claimed his third wicket of the innings. Ntini was then the last wicket to fall for seven, edging Liam Plunkett to slip as Kent finished on 320 – a lead of 199 as Amjad Khan remained unbeaten on 16.

The pacemen then soon got to work; heaping more pressure on the champions. With just ten on the board Ntini trapped Kyle Coetzer in front for four with a ball that nipped back to the opener. Number three Scott Borthwick followed soon after when he gloved a Khan bouncer to Geraint Jones behind the stumps to leave Durham reeling on 27-2.

The wicket meant the dependable Dale Benkenstein joined impressive opener Michael Di Venuto, at the crease, and the star duo looked to have steadied the ship until just before the lunch interval when Benkenstein became another victim of a leg-side strangle. Simon Cook was the benefactor, on this occasion, as Jones took his second catch of the innings to end the South African“s innings on seven.

The home side reached 59 for three at lunch, still 140 runs behind Rob Key“s men, with Tasmanian Di Venuto unbeaten on 38 after being dropped at slip off the bowling of the dangerous Khan, who continued to swing the ball throughout and got further reward in the very first over after the break.

Gareth Breese became the Danish-born quick“s seventh victim of the game when he offered back a caught and bowled chance that Khan made no mistake in holding onto. He was out for just five. With the talented Ben Stokes dropping down the order after spraining his ankle fielding, captain Phil Mustard came in at six to take on a rampant Kent attack and he showed his attacking intent early on by cracking Khan for two fours in one over. Di Venuto moved to his half-century, half an hour into the afternoon session – a fighting knock coming off 104 balls and included four boundaries as he and Mustard looked to re-build the innings. However, Cook returned to extinguish any chances of a mini-revival between the pair as Mustard nicked off on 16 to Jones, behind the stumps, to end the 32-run stand. With Durham teetering on 91 for five, Stokes joined the action, with Borthwick as a runner, and soon after a Di Venuto boundary saw the home side bring their hundred up.

The arrival of Stokes sparked Durham“s most dominant spell of the game as his typically pugnacious style saw him get after the Kent attack as he and Di Venuto raised their fifty partnership at over eight runs per over. The 18 year-old brought up his own half-century, off just 39 balls, but the very next ball Ntini made the crucial breakthrough, clean bowling the youngster with one that kept low to end his quick fire stay – what was to follow was simply breathtaking from a class international cricketer.

Three balls after the Stokes dismissal, with Durham still trailing by 27 runs with four wickets remaining, Ntini accounted for Plunkett with another clean bowled as Kent regained firm control. A couple of overs later the South African ended all Durham’s hopes when he captured the prized scalp of Di Venuto for 86 – two balls later Chris Rushworth became Ntini’s fifth victim when Jones took the catch as Durham’s number ten was sent packing for no score.

Typically Ntini then wrapped up proceedings; in his next over, trapping Steve Harmison leg before for a duck to finish with match figures of 10-104, as Durham slumped to 195 all out. The pace of Ntini and Khan was the deciding factor in this pulsating clash, alongside the belligerent ton from Stevens. Kent“s new ball pair shared 17 of the twenty Durham wickets to fall as Khan ended with superb match figures of 7-72.

The 22 point haul for Kent puts them above Durham in division one of the LV=County Championship. The next game is against the Scottish Saltires on Bank Holiday Monday. It will be the final match in Kent colours for Makhaya Ntini and the club is urging supporters to come and give him the send off he deserves for a fine contribution.