Gallian piles on the misery as Kent's title hopes fade

Nottinghamshire 397-5 Kent
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The Independent Online

The crowd did not exactly pack the ground to watch Nottinghamshire, the champions-elect, pile up the runs, but away from the match there was good news.

Paul Millman, the Kent chief executive, said: "Ordinarily our Totesport League match against Sussex on Sunday would not attract much interest but early ticket sales are markedly up. It is as if people are saying 'Where is there any cricket we can go to watch?'"

Geraint Jones, the Kent and England wicketkeeper appeared at the ground in the afternoon and he was enthusiastic about the Ashes effect. "I think the whole county system will get a huge boost from the series victory," he said. "When I have managed to get down to watch Kent I have seen more youngsters at matches."

This morning Jones will be taken to Canterbury High School in one of the open-topped buses which paraded the Ashes winners through London on Tuesday and speak to the students about the game. It is part of a concerted effort by the England and Wales Cricket Board to promote the sport on the back of the Ashes triumph.

The chances of Kent making a victory parade for winning the First Division championship are not looking so good, though. Dropped catches - Matthew Walker kicked the ball very hard after missing a sharp chance at cover to dismiss Jason Gallian on 84 - added to a sombre mood in the home team.

It must have been frustrating for them to watch Andrew Hall, one of their two South Africans, accept his county cap in the lunch interval, when the player could not take part in this crucial match.

Hall and his compatriot Justin Kemp have to return to South Africa early to take part in a couple of benefit matches for Jacques Kallis. Kent were understandably upset at losing the pair, especially given the way Nottinghamshire dominated the day's play.

Gallian and opening partner Darren Bicknell put on 157 for the first wicket, their fourth century stand of the summer and the 10th time in all that they have passed 50 - before Bicknell was bowled by Simon Cook with one that cut back wickedly and removed the left-hander's off stump.

Gallian sailed on, reaching his third hundred of the season and 32nd of his career after four and a half hours at the crease. He then shared in another stand, this one for the fifth wicket, of 146 with Chris Read, Jones' main rival for the England wicketkeeper's spot.

Read made an appetising 75 but was dropped on eight by the unfortunate Robert Key.

By the close Gallian was close to passing 200 for only the second time in his career, having taken Nottinghamshire to the brink of maximum batting points.