Cricket: Battering by bowlers

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The Independent Online
It is bad enough having to deal with the likes of Waqar Younis and Steve Watkin in their more regular role of strike bowlers, as a sticky session at the end of a fascinating day bore witness, but when you also have to contend with them as run-getters then it all becomes a bit much.

The Kent attack must have thought they were in for an easy time of it having reduced Glamorgan to 108 for 6, with the Pakistani Test fast bowler making his way out to join Robert Croft. But it took them almost an hour and a half to part the pair, Croft, the first to go for a stubbornly correct 39.

Waqar followed a couple of overs later a tantalising three runs short of his maiden Championship half-century, one of McCague's six victims in the innings. His 61-ball contribution contained some memorable shots, one in particular when he dropped on to one knee before hauling Paul Strang for six.

Then Darren Thomas, again regarded as more useful with ball than bat, came in to play a delightful innings, crammed with genuine strokes. He was cruelly out for 46, top edging an attempted hook.

He and Steve Watkin had added 58 for the ninth wicket, a partnership bettered only by that between Croft and Waqar, who put on 63 for the seventh. And still the batting bowlers had not done with Kent. Watkin lashed out while Dean Cosker remained patiently on nought to bring up a second bonus point.

The pacy and fairly ferocious McCague accounted for him, inducing a mis-drive to present Strang, running in from mid-on, with a simple catch. That gave him a return of 6 for 75 - his second five-wicket haul in successive Championship matches.

Watkin, on 39, was within sight of his best first-class score when he fell, but he had done enough and did not want to open the bowling exhausted. It did not take him long to get in among the wickets. While Kent's openers, David Fulton and Matthew Walker, struggled to come to terms with Waqar they forgot how good Watkin could be.

Walker's careless hoick skied the ball to Croft coming in from long leg. Fulton, whose first three scoring strokes were all inadvertent, top-edged a hook to Thomas to end an unhappy outing and it was left to Alan Wells, with a clutch of authoritative boundaries to start making inroads on the Glamorgan total.