Friday, May 10th, 2024

Kent vs Worcestershire: Day one report & highlights

Gareth Roderick scored a superb second successive hundred as Worcestershire made a successful first return to action since the passing away of spinner Josh Baker on day one of the Vitality County Championship encounter against Kent at Canterbury.

Roderick clutched the number 33 on his shirt – Baker’s number which is being worn on all the Worcestershire player’s shirts – after clipping Wes Agar through mid-wicket for his fourth boundary to reach three figures.

It was an innings of dedication, application and concentration and the keeper-batter reached three figures off 241 balls mid-way through the final session.

Roderick’s knocked followed on from his century against Somerset at Kidderminster and he provided the anchor around which the innings was built after club captain Brett D’Oliveira opted to bat.

Kashif Ali (72) and Adam Hose (50 not out) provided the fluency at the other end to Roderick during partnerships of 136 and 102 for the second and fourth wicket.

Roderick’s innings was finally ended in the 93rd over on 117 when he was bowled by a ball of full length from Joey Evison – the 281st he faced.

Worcestershire finished on 308-5 and will now look to press on when play resumes tomorrow and put an even more substantial total on the board.

The Kent seamers deserve credit for sticking to their task on a flattish pitch and Worcestershire had to work hard for their runs.

There were emotional scenes before the game with both sides lining up wearing black armbands for a minute’s silence which preceded a minute’s applause in memory of Baker.

Worcestershire made one change from the side which drew with Somerset at Kidderminster with all-rounder Nathan Smith replacing Adam Finch while Kent handed a debut to South African paceman Beyers Swanepoel.

 Jake Libby did the bulk of the early scoring, twice cover driving Swanepoel to the boundary in his opening over after Wes Agar had taken the new ball.

Roderick straight drove Agar for his first four while a trademark back foot punch by Libby brought him another boundary at Gilchrist’s expense.

The openers had put on 31 when Libby (19) was lbw to a fuller delivery from Agar.

New batter Kashif Ali was quickly into his stride, hooking Agar for four and straight driving Gilchrist for three to bring up the 50 in the 14th over.

The second wicket pair were very disciplined in their approach against some accurate bowling.

Roderick used his feet to straight drive Agar back down the ground to the ropes as the 50 stand with Kashif came up from 101 balls.

Worcestershire reached lunch on 94-1 and Kashif Ali did the bulk of the scoring during the early part of the afternoon session.

Swanepoel, Gilchrist and Agar were all pulled for boundaries as Kashif went to a 95 ball half century with six fours.

The 100 partnership was brought up from 190 deliveries and Roderick then completed another excellent half century with a single off Matt Parkinson.

Kashif looked on course for a third century of the summer but on 72 he aimed a big blow at a ball thrown up outside the off stump by Parkinson and was caught behind.

Parkinson made another breakthrough shortly before tea when D’OIiveira (18) pushed forward and was pouched at slip at 203-3.

But Roderick was then joined by Hose and he showed a willingness to attack.

He cut, cover drove and pulled Parkinson for boundaries as the first batting bonus point was acquired in the 77th over.

Roderick continued to accumulate effectively and the boundary off Agar enabled him to complete his fifth first class hundred for Worcestershire.

Worcestershire needed only 12 more overs to bring up the 300 via Hose’s square drive off Joey Evison and the 100 partnership was completed in 169 balls.

After Roderick’s dismissal, nightwatchman Joe Leach (1) fell lbw to Evison but Hose had time to reach a fine 92 ball fifty in the last over of the day.

Centurion  Roderick said: “A very emotional day. Quite a lovely tribute for Josh. Obviously the boys are devastated as to what happened but we pulled together as a group and it was a lovely ovation for him today and his memory.

“It affected the boys quite deeply and we were quite moved and we certainly felt his presence with us today.

“Being brutally honest the applause this morning had quite a profane effect on me and I thought a lot about him today when we were batting out there.

“Sometimes things are bit bigger than cricket and more important and today was about just pulling together as a unit, remembering him, and that’s what we did and thankfully put together a decent day.

“Very disappointed myself to get out at the end but it was a nice wicket to bat on and not a huge amount of pace in it so at times it was tough to score. Once you get in on there you can actually kick on and go big.

“The first hour tomorrow they will come hard, rejuvenated after a nice rest and we’ve got to combat that and hopefully Hosey and Jonesy can kick on and we can have another good partnership and put us in a strong position.”