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Van Jaarsveld top scores as Kent wilt in Beckenham

Monday 29th June 2009

Martin van Jaarsveld hit nine fours in his half-century

Kent v Gloucestershire, LV County Championship day one, Beckenham.
By Mark Pennell
TABLE topping Gloucestershire had every right to be pleased with their first day“s work in Beckenham where the second division leaders dismissed Kent for a disappointing 231 inside 75 overs on the opening day.
Despite a sublime pitch and ideal batting conditions on the hottest day of the summer at the Worsley Bridge Road Ground, Kent“s batsmen were made to work hard for their runs by Gloucestershire“s excellent, four-pronged pace attack.
The visitors chipped away in stifling heat to take two wickets before lunch, four in the mid-session and came back to polish the job off with four more in 12 overs after tea as Kent limped to one batting bonus point.
In reply, the Gladiators reached 62 for two in the 19 overs through to stumps, their first casualty William Porterfield (19) checked his drive against James Tredwell to be caught at slip by Justin Kemp, who then switched ends to snaffle a catch from Hamish Marshall (4) off the bowling of Azhar Mahmood.
Though Kent“s top seven batsmen all made it into double figures only the dependable Martin van Jaarsveld made it beyond 50 as the club“s first innings batting woes continued to haunt them.
Having elected to bat first, skipper Rob Key undoubtedly hoped to fill his boots but sadly his poor run of form continued with a painstaking 33 in 88 minutes, yet still this was his best score in the championship this year.
The former England bat might have gone without scoring when, in the fourth over of the day he edged a good ball from James Franklin to first slip, but Craig Spearman downed the chance to his left and it flew for four to third man.
Sam Northeast, deputising for Joe Denly who is away on England Lions“ duty, clipped two boundaries through mid-wicket to reach 10 before he followed one across his body from Franklin to edge to wicketkeeper Stephen Snell and make it 21-1.
Key and No3 Geraint Jones added 54 in 13 overs for the second wicket though neither player truly looked comfortable so it came as no surprise when Key, with the score on 75, nicked one from Jonathan Lewis to first slip where Spearman atoned for his earlier error by taking a sharp low catch.
After lunch Jones“s 105-minute stay ended with his score on 46 when he dragged on when attempting to pull against Steve Kirby leaving van Jaarsveld to canter on toward an excellent 76-ball half-century with nine fours – his fifth time past 50 this summer.
His fun ended five balls later though when, in trying to pull against Kirby, he looped to mid-wicket where Franklin held a fine, over-the-shoulder catch on the run.
Darren Stevens also looked capable of cashing in, hitting two crisp fours and a straight six off left-arm spinner Vikram Banerjee but Stevens then nibbled at a good ball from Franklin and edged to Snell to go for 31.
Then, with 210 on the board, Mahmood – playing only his third, four-day game of the summer – flailed across the line against Banerjee and skied a return catch to the bowler to go for a disappointing 10.
After tea Tredwell (3) chipped meekly to mid-wicket, Ryan McLaren (0) was yorked whilst being distracted by a couple walking between split sightscreens and Simon Cook (0) nicked to second slip having been dropped their the previous ball.
Kemp batted patiently for 40 from 87 balls but blotted his copybook somewhat when holing out to long-on to become last man out to give Banerjee two wickets together with Franklin, Kirby and Gemaal Hussain on championship debut.