Gallian's heroics bring title closer

Nottinghamshire 455-6 Kent
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The Independent Online

The man whose cut reached the boundary near the lime tree was none other than Mark Ealham, who spent 15 seasons at the St Lawrence Ground between 1989 and 2003.

But it did not all go Nottinghamshire's way. Jason Gallian had been kicking his heels in frustration that the five and a half hours that had been lost to the rain and perhaps it was that which persuaded him that he could take an all-run four to reach his double hundred.

He managed the first three and got so close to the fourth, but he did not make it. Neil Dexter's throw to the wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien from deep midwicket beat Gallian by a couple of yards as he strained to complete the fourth run which would have taken him to his double century. So for the second time this season Gallian was run out on 199.

"I was laughing," Gallian said. "I just couldn't believe it had happened for a second time." But his seven and a quarter hours at the crease had set Nottinghamshire well on the way to a sizeable score and possible victory and therefore the Championship.

Gallian's heroic effort has certainly given Nottinghamshire a psychological edge over Kent, who had begun the game as one of four runners in the title race, but are now looking a little more forlorn, even more so with the news that their England batsman Robert Key has picked up a groin injury in this game, although it should not prevent him from batting in this game or the last one against Sussex at Hove next week.

It was not possible to complete the whole hour that remained, but there was still enough time for Ealham to take his overnight 24 past fifty.

"It would be fantastic to get it [clinching the title] done here," Ealham, 36, said. "Returning with another club, having not won the Championship with Kent in all those years makes, it a bit of an odd one for me."