Bevan seeks touch of history in run chase

<preform>Middlesex 351 &amp; 370-8 dec Kent 192 & 114-2</preform>
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The Independent Online

The last time Michael Bevan visited Southgate he was a Sussex player, and on that occasion he witnessed a Middlesex batsman scoring a century in each innings.

The last time Michael Bevan visited Southgate he was a Sussex player, and on that occasion he witnessed a Middlesex batsman scoring a century in each innings.

That was four years ago when Mark Ramprakash achieved the feat before crossing the Thames to join Surrey. On that occasion, despite the apparent dominance of Middlesex, Bevan produced a brilliant performance and his unbeaten 173 in the second innings guided Sussex to victory.

So yesterday, when Ben Hutton had hit his second hundred of the match there were a few Kent hands clutching at the historical straw after Middlesex set an imposing, if not impossible victory target of 530 runs.

The chase got off to a bad start when Kent lost Michael Carberry, caught behind off a wide delivery from Simon Cook and when, four overs later, Ed Smith cut hard straight to Sven Koenig at deepish gully there were fears, with tea still some 10 overs away, that it could all be over before the close.

That was the point at which Bevan, who had failed first time around, re-entered the fray. It was also the time that the "Fans of Kent" and "Kentish fans" started looking for straws to clutch. Bevan began pretty well, showing his team-mates how to deal with the menace of his fellow countryman Glenn McGrath when he drove, glanced and clipped the Australian seamer for three fours in an over.

But Bevan, who, like McGrath, is from New South Wales, then encountered a few problems, most notably with the off-spin of Paul Weekes, although India's Ajit Agarkar also caused the left-hander the odd spot of bother.

Bevan gave three chances in the 20s and 30s, two off Weekes, one off Agarkar, although, typical of the fine batsman that he is, none of them were straightforward. But then neither was batting and Bevan and his third-wicket partner David Fulton had their work cut out as they chipped away at that target.

But to their credit, Kent had not made life easy for Middlesex in the morning. Koenig departed on the third ball of the day before he had been able to add to his overnight 86. Koenig was run out, a victim of hesitation and a smart throw by Carberry.

Thereafter Middlesex wickets tumbled at regular intervals. Hutton at least had the satisfaction reaching three figures again - the first Middlesex batsmen to score a hundred in each innings since Ramprakash - and it was his fourth ton on this ground. Thankfully, Weekes weighed in with a useful half century to help set up that target.

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