Cricket: Kent pay for Hick reprieve

Worcestershire 422 & 82-3 Kent 276
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The Independent Online
There had been the prospect of this match meandering to the foregone conclusion of an aimless draw after Tom Moody elected to bat on yesterday. Mercifully, Worcestershire mustered only 13 more runs, while Kent hustled another bowling point as they whipped out the remaining three batsmen, including David Leatherdale for 129, in the space of 20 balls.

Kent then obliged, initially, by struggling against a Worcestershire attack shorn of Alamgir Sheriyah and Stuart Lampitt through illness and injury respectively, then by allowing themselves to be rolled over to the point where they were in danger of following on. It needed some careful nursing by their doctor, Julian "Tail End" Thompson, and a watchful innings from captain Steve Marsh for them to avoid that humiliation.

Thompson's solitary boundary took them to their target figure, 273, before, three runs later, last man Alan Igglesden was bowled byChampionship debutant Maneer Mirza, brother of the late Parvaz. He ended with 2 for 56, commendable figures but outdone by Leatherdale. It was an inspired double change which saw Moody bring on himself from the New Road End and Leatherdale from the Diglis End. Leatherdale's first over broke a substantial partnership between Graham Cowdrey and Mark Ealham.

Cowdrey miscued a pull and Tim Curtis took a good catch at backward square- leg. Then it was Moody's turn. He was presented with a simple catch off his bowling by Ealham, although by then the England all-rounder had reached his half century off 45 balls.

Kent collapsed, Leatherdale picked up a couple more for a return of 3 for 25, and careered headlong towards the follow-on until Dean Headley, Marsh and Thompson did their stuff. But if Kent supporters thought their luck had changed they were mistaken. With Worcestershire already 146 runs ahead on the first innings, Graeme Hick was dropped by Alan Wells at slip when he had made nine. By the close Hick was 56 not out

The innings was studded with high quality shots, including a six which dislodged a tile from the Pavilion roof, and rattled the bowler, Ealham, who is expecting the chop today when England announce the squad for the Fifth Test next week. The home side went in 228 in front and there should be an interesting bit of maths tomorrow as the two captains try to reach agreement over what might represent an honourable target.