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Surrey v Kent: Record Billings and Haggett stand earns batting points

Tuesday 14th July 2015

Sam Billings and Calum Haggett shared a record seventh-wicket stand on an entertaining day two of the LV= County Championship match at the Kia Oval.

Billingsdeparted for 99, one shy of a maiden first-class century for Kent as Haggett recorded 80 runs off 163 balls in a 200-minute stay at the crease.

Their 151-run partnership eclipsed the previous best 7th-wicket stand against Surrey of 138 between Geraint Jones and Alex Blake at the same ground in 2011.

Surrey's Sam Curran marked his first-class debut for Surrey with a five-wicket haul at the age of 17.

Despite having apparently surrendered the initiative when allowing Kent to recover from 154 for six to total 336, Surrey burst out of the blocks this evening to finish day two on 144 for the loss of Rory Burns (31), who edged Matt Coles to first slip.

Arun Harinath, having scampered to a 61-ball half-century, will resume on76 while Kumar Sangakkara has contributed34 so far.

Much of the morning session had been hard graft for Kent – not helped by the loss of both Darren Stevens (9) and Ben Harmison (17) inside the first 11 overs after the visitors had resumed on 132 for four.

Stevens was given out, caught behind down the leg side off the bowling of James Burke, before Harmison went lbw to Sam Curran when only half forward.

That was 154 for six – and if Burke had held a comfortable looking catch when Billings, on 11, clipped Tom Curran to square leg, the visitors would have been in real bother at 158 for seven.

Instead, the chance went down and, having fought their way through to lunch, Billings and Haggett prospered after the interval.

Billings, whose best score in 12 previous championship innings this season was just 37, cover drove three consecutive boundaries during Sam Curran's first over of the afternoon to complete an 82-ball half-century that included 10 boundaries in all.

The shift in momentum was obvious, and Billings underlined it by straight driving spinner Zafar Ansari for six. With Haggett also getting the taste for attack – pulling and cutting Sam Curran for boundaries – Kent were rattling along and the seventh-wicket pair completed a century stand from 28 overs when Billings swept Gareth Batty to the rope.

Haggett, who scored his maiden first-class fifty in a win at Gloucestershire earlier this season, straight drove Ansari to post another half-century, leaving Surrey scratching their heads for an answer until the second new ball became available. Lo and behold, it did the trick for them.

Billings, having moved to 99, survived one lbw appeal when Sam Curran re-entered the attack. But the next delivery was again full in length and this time the shout was answered with a raised finger, leaving an understandably dejected batsman to drag himself from the crease.

Billings – whose only first-class hundred to date was made for Loughborough University in 2011 – had faced 142 balls and struck 13 fours as well as that six off Ansari, helping Kent to three batting bonus points.

Tom Curran quickly defeated James Tredwell's attempted drive before his younger brother took the last two wickets of the innings.

Matt Coles helped a delivery down the leg side before Haggett's invaluable knock of 80 was ended by a good low catch from Kumar Sangakkara at first slip.

Click here for the scorecard