Alan Wells did much to restore Kent hopes yesterday with an innings of high quality that helped wrest the initiative from Glamorgan. He renewed his battle with the Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis with relish, proving more than equal to the test.
Yet when opener David Fulton had had to face Waqar, things looked a whole lot different. The 319 runs needed for victory may as well have been 3,000. Waqar fairly tore in. Fulton had somehow survived 10 balls. The 11th he decided to leave. The ball homed in on his off-stump like a missile and uprooted it.
But Wells, who had treated Waqar with a certain degree of disdain first time around, showed no fear, even though the Glamorgan bowler was generating a lot of pace. Together with the stocky left-hander Matthew Walker, Wells steadied Kent nerves and patiently led them out of a potentially awkward position.
Waqar was rested after half a dozen overs of fine fast bowling and Darren Thomas came tanking in from the Nackington Road End and Steve Watkin was then replaced at the other end. The batsmen began to go for their shots and were within sight of a century stand when Walker pushed at a delivery from slow left-armer Dean Cosker and the ball veered off the inside edge and on to the stumps.
But Wells was motoring by now and Graham Cowdrey, the Kent beneficiary, benefited from some good footwork against off-spinner Robert Croft in particular and smacked three boundaries in one over and the runs flowed.
Earlier, Glamorgan lost an opportunity to pull well ahead after their prolific opener Steve James had laid the foundations for a big total with an excellent half-century - the fourth time he has passed fifty in the Championship this season.
Adrian Shaw, the Glamorgan wicketkeeper, had been promoted to opener because Hugh Morris, having not taken the field on the previous day because of a sprained ankle, was unable to come in until four wickets had gone down. By then the rot had set in. Although Shaw made a creditable 30, the middle order just crumpled in the face of Paul Strang's leg spin.
And when the Zimbabwean was not winkling them out then Matthew Fleming was wading in among them, scattering them like a sparrowhawk among finches. The former army officer finished with career-best first-class figures of four for 28 and Kent ended the day with a better than even chance of victory.Reuse content