Monday, May 13th, 2024

Worcestershire earn hard fought draw with Kent – Report & highlights

Worcestershire forced Kent to follow on but eventually had to settle for a draw from the Vitality County Championship encounter at Canterbury which they dominated.

Kent were dismissed for 407 in their first innings 40 minutes before lunch with Joe Leach and Kashif Ali polishing off the innings.

Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira asked Kent to follow on 211 in arrears and Jason Holder, Ben Gibbon and Nathan Smith raised victory hopes with early breakthroughs to reduce the home side to 36-3.

Ultimately the flat and slow pitch proved to be the winner as Kent reached 146-4 from 57 overs before the two teams shook hands with 16 overs remaining.

Worcestershire were out in the field for a total of 206.2 overs since declaring on the second day.

But it was another excellent all-round performance from Worcestershire who have been the side chasing victory in four of their five matches to date against Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Kent.

It was even more of a magnificent display over the entire four days given that Worcestershire spinner Josh Baker had sadly passed away earlier in the month.

Every player and the coaching staff should be rightly proud of their efforts.

Century-makers Gareth Roderick, Jason Holder and Matthew Waite plus Adam Hose and Kashif Ali all made sizeable contributions with the bat.

All the bowlers stuck to their pitch on such a benign surface and bowled with great discipline and skill to take a total of 14 wickets.

Roderick, in particular, put in a marathon effort for the team in intense heat in batting with great application for 93 overs on the opening day and then keeping well for more than two days.

Worcestershire ended with a total of 13 points – eight for a draw, three batting bonus and two bowling bonus – to remain in seventh spot and Kent 10.

Kent resumed on 362-8 and Smith, bowled an aggressive opening spell.

Jack Leaning fenced a delivery just over Kashif Ali at short leg and was then struck on the helmet by the New Zealander.

It was Leach who made the first breakthrough as Nathan Gilchrist (12) swivelled to play a short ball and picked out Waite at deep backward square leg.

A thick edge for four off Kashif by Leaning brought up the 400.

But Kashif wrapped up the innings shortly afterwards on 407 when Matt Parkinson (2) pushed forward and lost his off stump.

It left Leaning unbeaten on a marathon 179 from 403 balls spanning almost 10 hours with 16 boundaries.

Leach finished with figures of 25-11-37-3, Waite 18-4-51-3, Kashif 5.2-0-13-2, D’Oliveira 30-4-69-1 and Smith 29-5-82-1.

Kent had 73 overs to survive when they began their second innings with Waite and Holder sharing the new ball.

Holder gave Worcestershire the ideal start when England opener Zak Crawley (10) half pushed forward and Gareth Roderick too a good catch away to his right.

Ben Compton was beaten outside the off stump by Waite as Worcestershire probed for further breakthroughs.

Their hopes were raised with two wickets in quick succession at the start of the afternoon session.

The first ball of Ben Gibbon’s spell accounted for Compton (11) who was strangled down the leg side with Roderick making no mistake.

It then became 36-3 when the second delivery of Smith’s spell trapped Joe Denly (10) lbw with a ball angled back in.

There was the first sight in action for Worcestershire supporters of Tom Taylor, currently building up his fitness after shoulder and knee injuries, as a substitute fielder mid-way through the session.

Daniel Bell-Drummond and Harry Finch added 77 but Worcestershire hopes were revived again immediately after tea.

Gibbon earned some richly deserved reward for some fine bowling when Bell-Drummond off stump when flying out of the ground on 41 with the total 113-4.

But that was their last success and Harry Finch (48 not out) steered Kent to safety.

Gibbon ended with 10-1-38-2, Holder 4-1-9-1 and Smith 6-0-17-1.