Sunday, May 12th, 2024

Kent vs Worcestershire: Day three report & highlights

Worcestershire all-rounder Matthew Waite followed his century yesterday by picking up three wickets on day two of the Vitality County Championship encounter with Kent at Canterbury.

Waite dismissed Kent skipper Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly and keeper-batter Harry Finch as Kent responded to Worcestershire’s massive total of 618-7.

He was a constant handful and the Worcestershire attack bowled with discipline and accuracy for lengthy periods and the score ticked along at barely two an over for much of the day.

Jason Holder and Ben Gibbon deserved some tangible reward for their efforts, the accurate Joe Leach and aggressive Nathan Smith were always asking questions and Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira did an excellent job in the spinner’s role.

But a marathon century from Jack Leaning prevented Worcestershire from making even deeper inroads into the Kent batting line-up.

He batted through the entire day and finished unbeaten on 152 from 349 balls with 13 fours.

It was an innings as invaluable to Kent as Gareth Roderick’s disciplined century was for Worcestershire on the opening day.

The pitch was as benign as on the opening two days and it will take a super effort from the Worcestershire bowlers in such batter-friendly conditions to take 13 wickets on the final day as Kent closed on 362-8.

Kent resumed on 111-2 but D’Oliveira’s decision to open the bowling with Waite paid dividends.

He quickly settled into a good rhythm and nagging length and was rewarded when he went past the edge of Kent captain Daniel Bell-Drummond (67) who was bowled.

There was more joy for Waite in his next over.

Joe Denly looked uncomfortable against the all-rounder before he was trapped lbw for a fifth ball duck at 135-4.

Waite’s morning spell produced excellent figures of 2-9 from six overs.

But all of the Worcestershire bowlers bowled tightly and accurately and Kent were made to work for every run as the boundaries dried up for long periods.

Leach, who had picked up the first two wickets on day two, also looked threatening and new batter Harry Finch was given a searching examination in an over from Gibbon.

Jack Leaning dropped anchor but was fortunate when he inside-edged Gibbon for four past his off stump.

Leaning was unbeaten on 75 and Finch 21 in a total of 179-4 after the morning session produced 68 runs in 29 overs – a testament to the disciplined bowling.

Gibbon delivered an excellent post lunch spell to help maintain the pressure but it was Waite, after a change of ends, who made another breakthrough.

Finch (26) could only pick out Rob Jones at short extra cover to leave Kent on 192-5.

Waite also caused problems to new batter Joey Evison whose nicked a delivery just short of Jason Holder at slip and then edged between first slip and keeper Gareth Roderick for four.

The second new ball was taken and Leaning on 85 was fortunate when a leading edge against Nathan Smith landed just short of Jake Libby at cover.

He then inside edged Leach into his pads before bringing up his hundred off 249 balls by clipping Holder through mid wicket for his eighth four.

Evison edged the final ball before tea from Gibbon just short of slip but the second over of the final session led to his downfall on 27.

He went to drive Smith and only succeeded in edging through to Roderick.

Leaning had a slice of luck when a leading edge against Smith lobbed up on the off side and fell just short of Gibbon running in from backward point.

But in between these rare lapses Leaning provided a rock solid performer for the home side who reached 297-6 in 110 overs.

Leaning was joined by Kent newcomer Beyers Swanepoel and the pair added 97 before the South African (54) tried to paddle sweep D’Oliveira and was lbw.

Kashif Ali was brought into the attack for the penultimate over and the spinner had instant success by yorking Wes Agar (6).

Worcestershire Assistant Head Coach, Kadeer Ali said: “I thought it was a really good effort from all the bowlers today, to go for two and a half an over and for 96 overs. I’m really proud of the boys.

“We know it’s a slow wicket and there’s not much in it for the bowlers but they stuck at it all day and they were brilliant.

“The energy levels were good and we tried to create as much as we could. Matthew Waite is having a really good game after his hundred yesterday and he bowled with really good discipline.

“He kept the stumps in play and his line and length were immaculate.

“Ben Gibbon was really unlucky not to get a wicket, he uses his angles coming round the wicket and over the wicket, swung the ball late and he deserved more than what he got. On another day he’d get five wickets there.

“It was an excellent innings from Jack Leaning. He showed some good discipline, set his stall out to bat the whole day and he’s done that beautifully.

“He showed good concentration defended straight and did exactly the things we talk about with our batting unit.

“We were thinking if we could get them eight or nine down tonight it would be nice and we can pick up one or two in the morning.

“It was a crucial wicket there at the end from Kashif, it gives us a chance tomorrow.”