Cricket: Kent cruise ahead

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The Independent Online
Kent 189 and 383

Gloucestershire 175 and 164

Kent win by 233 runs

THE prospect of an interesting day at Canterbury was about as long lived as a politician's promise. It took Kent just an hour and three-quarters to take Gloucestershire's last nine wickets and leapfrog back over Northamptonshire into second place in the Championship race.

The damage was done by Kent's burly fast bowler Martin McCague, who in five successive overs took 5 for 7 in 23 balls. It was a tremendous effort on a pitch giving no help, but it has to be said that Gloucestershire's batting was pathetic. Beginning the day needing 304 to win, they allowed themselves to be routed. Only Jack Russell, with the gutsy batting that has become his trademark, offered real resistance.

Gloucestershire had added just 10 runs to the overnight total when, in McCague's third over of the day, Mark Alleyne fenced at a lively, lifting ball. Two deliveries later Richard Scott was on his way, popping a catch to silly point off Richard Davis.

If Gloucestershire's pride now rested on Bill Athey and Tony Wright, it was not obvious from Athey's response to McCague's bouncer. Down at long-leg the tumbling Richard Ellison applied the finishing touch. However, it was McCague's yorker, rather than indiscretion, which accounted for Wright and Tim Hancock.

Micky Stewart was here on Friday, and McCague's 10-wicket return gives him something to discuss when the selectors meet later this week to choose the England tour teams. It may be that McCague, who has taken 42 wickets in his last seven Championship games will have to decide if his loyalties lie with Australia, his adopted homeland, or England, for whom he qualifies by his birth in Northern Ireland.