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Cricket: Donald delighted with Kent’s display

PUBLISHED: 08:23 07 September 2018

Kent's Darren Stevens (left), coach Matt Walker, vice captain Joe Denly, coach Allan Donald and Will Gidman (right) prepare for a team picture (pic Gareth Fuller/PA)

Kent's Darren Stevens (left), coach Matt Walker, vice captain Joe Denly, coach Allan Donald and Will Gidman (right) prepare for a team picture (pic Gareth Fuller/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Kent’s bowling coach and former South Africa bowling legend Allan Donald is hoping they can complete victory over Northamptonshire in their County Championship Division Two contest on Friday.

Having seen most of the second day washed ou by the weather, Kent made 287 in their seconds innings after leading contributionns fromm Joe Denly (81), Zak Crawley (63) and Sam Billings (56)

And they reduced the visitors to 56-3 at the close, with Matt Henry (2-28) adding a brace to his career-best 7-42 haul in the first innings, to improve their chances of clinching a win to maintain their promotion push.

Donald said: “There was always a worry, having hardly played the day before, as to what the pitch might be doing.

“Immediately, we could see it had settled down and was a little easier to bat than the first day.

“So for us to set them 320 to win represented a great fightback from our batsmen. Once again, Joe Denly played outstandingly well and everybody else scrapped away to play a part.

“That’s the brand of cricket we’ve played in the championship all season and the resillience we’ve shown has been very impressive.

“Chasing 300 on this pitch will never be an easy task, I say that respectfully, but I feel our attack has brought so much relentless pressure to this game and to have them three down going is a nice feeling and hopefully, if we show patience, we’ll be able to seal the deal and close the game out.”

Kent had started their second innings with a slender overall lead of 32 and extended their advantage to 55 when a double-wicket maiden from Ben Sanderson briefly altered the course of the morning session.

The bearded paceman had Sean Dickson snaffled at second slip then, three balls later, Kent’s experiment to promote Grant Stewart backfired, when the all-rounder glanced a catch to the keeper to depart without scoring.

With licence to keep the game moving, Kent’s third-wicket partners Crawley and Denly continued to go for their strokes in adding 111 in 25 overs either side of lunch.

But, after posting a 72-ball 50, Crawley became bogged down after the interval and departed leg before for 63 when an in-swinging Brett Hutton Yorker hit him flush on the boot.

The impressive Richard Gleeson then enjoyed the day’s second double-wicket maiden. After clipping Denly’s off stump with an excellent leg-cutter that sent the right-hander packing when only 19 runs short of his fourth championship ton of the summer, Gleeson extended Daniel Bell-Drummond’s batting woes by trapping him leg before when off balance for a third-ball duck.

Heino Kuhn fell for a cameo 34 just before tea, leg before when working across the line against Gleeson, then, soon after tea and with Kent 287 ahead, the same bowler induced Darren Stevens to chop on.

Harry Podmore followed suit to give Gleeson a deserved five-wicket haul in only his fourth appearance of the season, which became a career-best of 6-79 when Matt Henry, in trying to drop his hands to a short one, gloved a catch through to the keeper.

Amongst the carnage, captain Billings scored his first half-century of the season in his fifth appearance from 63 balls and with seven fours, beating his paltry season’s best of 29 before becoming last man out for 56, after an extraordinary hook from well outside off stump that flew straight to first slip.

Kent had needed only 25 minutes at the start of the day to mop up Northamptonshire’s two remaining first innings wickets.

Henry had Gleeson caught by Ivan Thomas at square leg to end a ninth-wicket stand of 49 to give Henry career-best figures and Thomas then polished off the innings in Henry’s next over, running out Hutton with a direct hit from square leg, allowing Henry to walk off with the match ball.

Batting for the final time in the match and facing an improbable victory target of 320, Northamptonshire started their second innings as they had their first and were soon deep in trouble against the pace of Henry.

Left-hander Ben Curran followed one going across him to be caught behind then, five overs later, his opening partner Luke Procter went leg before to one that darted in off the seam to give the Kiwi his ninth of the match.

Kent’s first-change seamer Stewart swung one through the gate of Ricardo Vasconcelos to peg back off stump, but Alex Wakely and Richard Levi dug in to bat out the remaining 10 overs through to the close. They require a further 264 on the fourth day for an unlikely win.

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