Cricket: Kiwis defied by final pair

New Zealand 591 Kent 201 & 417-9 Match drawn
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KENT'S last wicket pair, captain Matthew Fleming and Darren Scott, helped stave off defeat and keep New Zealand waiting for their first-ever win in nine meetings between the two sides, spanning 72 years.

Needing 390 to avoid an innings defeat, Fleming (21 not out) scored the runs that wiped out the deficit as Kent finished on 417 for 9 declared - a lead of 27. He and Scott, who remained unbeaten on nought, stood firm and both skippers shook hands on a draw with time running out to gain a definite result.

Kent were pleased to have shown such firm resistance and were especially heartened by the form of Ed Smith, Andrew Symonds and the 19-year-old Matthew Banes, who celebrated his first-class debut with a 50. Smith, 22 on Monday, hit 111, his fifth first-class hundred and his highest for the county, passing the 102 he made against Hampshire at Portsmouth two years ago. It took him more than five hours and 264 balls before he fell to Chris Cairns shortly after lunch to earn the New Zealand all-rounder match figures of 10 for 116. However he, Geoff Allott and Dion Nash were all used sparingly and it was left to left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori (3 for 116) and Nathan Astle (3 for 53) to share the wickets with Cairns.

Vettori's figures were ample reward for bowling more than 50 overs and he began Kent's demise by removing Mark Ealham for 43 with the total at 358.

Symonds' 102 was a quickfire affair, scored off only 145 balls and including 20 fours, signalling a return to form for the Australian after three noughts in his last four innings.

The result meant New Zealand preserved their unbeaten record against the counties.