Cricket: Haynes denied just desserts

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Kent. . . . . . . . . . . . .418-8 dec and 280

Middlesex . . . . . . . . . . . .454 and 204-7

Match drawn

LIKE a couple of fading prizefighters struggling to get back up the card, Kent and Middlesex yesterday slugged each other to a stalemate which suited neither.

Middlesex, with Desmond Haynes completing his second century of the match, and his third in succession, deserved to have won it; Kent could have stolen it. In the end, both the holders and the county many tipped to be their successors remain without a championship win nearly seven weeks into the season.

Having bowled Kent out by mid-afternoon, Angus Fraser finished with 3 for 20 off 20 overs, Middlesex were left with 44 overs to score 245 to win.

Haynes led the way; unperturbed by needing a runner when he jarred his knee driving at Alan Igglesden on 59, he reached a high-class century off 116 balls.

With Mark Ramprakash sharing 81 in 16 overs and everyone else chipping in, he reduced the target to 126 off 20, then 78 off 10. But, with Min Patel bowling over the wicket into the rough, and a string of fielders on the boundary, the target became ever stiffer, reaching 51 off five.

Haynes, who twice reverse- swept Patel for four, was then leg-before next ball as Dean Headley came back and, with Patel now coming round the wicket and the fielders back in, Kent spied an unexpected win.

They neither gained it or deserved it. Middlesex not only controlled most of this match but also played almost all the positive cricket. What with Labour taking Kent's two European Parliament seats for the first time yesterday on Sunday, the Buffs, Old Stagers and the rest of the county's blazer brigade must feel the Barbarians are at the gates.