Monday, September 6th, 2021

COUNTY FACING MASSIVE CHALLENGE AFTER DAY TWO IN CANTERBURY

Worcestershire CCC collected maximum bowling points but face a massive challenge after being on the receiving end during the opening two days of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Kent at Canterbury.

Kent resumed on 184-4 in their first innings and were bowled out for 393 in 114.2 overs, with young spinner Josh Baker impressing and taking three of the six wickets to fall today.

Paceman Adam Finch picked up two scalps and secured the third and final bowling bonus point for Worcestershire with one ball to spare when he dismissed Nathan Gilchrist.

But Worcestershire faced a first-innings deficit of 260 and then lost six wickets for 91, and it will require something special from Ed Barnard, Ben Cox and Joe Leach โ€“ their main contributors in the first innings – with the bat on the third day.

Only 16 runs had been added to Kent’s overnight total before Finch made the first breakthrough of the day.

Darren Stevens (66) could only miscue a delivery to cover off a leading edge, and Ed Barnard held onto a straightforward catch.

His dismissal brought in Sam Billings, who had been released from England duty and is available to play in the rest of the game in place of Marcus O’Riordan.

Billings survived a confident shout for lbw against Leach early in his innings, and Jack Leaning was fortunate on 68 to mishit Baker just over the head of Jake Libby running back to long-off.

The second new ball was taken at 265-5 off 80 overs, with Leach and Dillon Pennington brought back for their second spells of the day either side of lunch.

Billings completed a 72 ball half-century, but Leaning fell three short of his century when he became Pennington’s fourth victim of the innings.

It was a similar dismissal to Stevens’s with a leading-edge lobbing up to Barnard again positioned in the covers.

Leaning faced 259 balls and hit eight boundaries.

Baker returned to the attack, and he claimed three of the final four wickets to fall.

Having made 72 off 98 balls, Billings sliced a catch to Pennington on the cover boundary, and then Grant Stewart (24) came down the wicket to Baker and was stumped.

Cox held onto a low catch to his right after Gilchrist (8) edged Finch to earn Worcestershire their third bowling point.

The innings was wrapped up when James Logan (12) went for an expansive drive and was bowled by Baker.

Pennington finished with 4-80, Baker 3-76 and Finch 2-83, while Leach worked his way through 26 overs and ended with 1-53.

After unbroken sunshine throughout the day, Worcestershire openers Daryl Mitchell and Libby began their second innings under cloud cover.

Mitchell punched Matt Milnes off the back foot through the covers for four and on drove the same bowler back down the ground for three.

But after making 14 out of 19, Mitchell was undone by a superb delivery from Stevens, which forced him to play forward but then nipped away and knocked out the off stump.

Tom Fell got off the mark with a cut for four off Stevens and collected another boundary with a thick edge to third man off the same bowler.

Libby advanced to 23 but was then given out lbw to a delivery from Stewart which was angled in and on the borderline of whether or not it had pitched in line.

Fell (11) aimed an on-drive down the ground and was lbw to Gilchrist, whose next ball had Brett D’Oliveira (0) caught behind with keeper Ollie Robinson grabbing the ball at the second attempt.

Jack Haynes looked in good touch and straight drove Milnes for four and then hit him off the back foot through the covers for another boundary.

But on 26, the former England Under-19 player was leg before to Stevens at 87-5, and then nightwatchman Finch was caught behind off Stewart for one.