Cricket: McCague has the last word

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Kent 316 Northants 133 and 91-3

Few bowlers border on the unplayable but Martin McCague did here. He exploited irregular bounce with an awesome display of venomous accuracy to exploit Northamptonshire's apparent death wish.

They flailed, flashed and perished as if imagining they were defending their lead at the top of the Sunday League, rather than being involved in a four-day match. McCague returned 5 for 21 to prompt the follow-on and another batting struggle in the twilight zone.

Northamptonshire have two authentic openers, Alan Fordham and Richard Montgomerie, and four other batsmen, whose calling at present is at No 6. Without the injured Rob Bailey, they have no No 3 and their folly of omitting Mal Loye was laid bare.

It all suited Kent, handily placed at joint fifth with Derbyshire. They bowled admirably in both innings, Tim Wren imposing himself with three post-tea wickets at Northamptonshire sought a distant 183 to avoid an innings defeat.

Min Patel, slow left-arm, had returned 3-46 in the first innings, illustrating the breadth of Kent's attack on a pitch probably enlivened by the after- lunch break for rain.

A green, plastic, sausage-shaped cover was rolled on to protect the square, including the perspiring pitch, and from 73 for 3, only 60 runs were added for the loss of seven wickets. The orthodox covers, lurking on the old football field, remained behind the advertisement boards.

John Emburey, Northamptonshire's chief coach appointed yesterday as assistant to David Lloyd on England's winter tour of Zimbabwe and New Zealand said: "We are just not applying ourselves well enough."

At least Fordham did in the first innings, with only his second Championship half-century of the summer. Kevin Curran chose the alternative method with a flashing blade bringing 45, with 10 fours, from 46 balls.

Fordham experienced a shooter and then a snorter from McCague, the catch flying to first slip. Montgomerie had been caught off a glove and David Sales yorked by McCague. The middle order and tail came quietly in the team's lowest score of the season.

Trevor Ward swooped to take a low catch at wide mid-off to dismiss David Capel second ball after the follow-on and Northamptonshire still need 92 to prevent an ignominious defeat.