Hall the catalyst as Kent topple leaders

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The Independent Online

So much for precedent. Nottinghamshire chased down 458 to beat Worcestershire four years ago but never threatened to reach the challenge of 416 set by Kent, their second innings subsiding almost as ignominiously as their first as the visitors completed a 196-run victory by the middle of the afternoon session.

The margin would have been more comprehensive still but for an improbable last-wicket stand, when Ryan Sidebottom and Oliver Newby added 73 in 12 overs, the largest Nottinghamshire partnership.

Having marked his debut on loan from Lancashire with two wickets in each innings, 20-year-old Newby scored 38 not out, clubbing four fours and a six before the spinner Min Patel, who had been doing his utmost to tempt a catch, at last had Sidebottom stumped.

Nottinghamshire began the game at the top of the Championship, yet displayed little resilience. No batsman was able to set himself for the long pursuit of victory or, once that possibility had gone, to grind out a draw. The team's body language seemed to indicate a lack of belief.

Perhaps it was the pitch, deemed by some to be untrustworthy from an early stage. No batsman surpassed the first-innings 64 made by Kent's reserve wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien, although there did not appear to be any real excuse. A bowler putting his back into his work was rewarded with useful bounce, but that was the case from the first over to the last. It was a factor in several dismissals yesterday, none the less.

Andrew Hall, the South African all-rounder making his county debut, did more than anyone to make sure Kent left Trent Bridge with a first win of the season, taking a sharp catch at first slip to help Simon Cook make the first breakthrough by removing Anurag Singh, then inducing Jason Gallian to edge to gully. Later he dismissed Samit Patel and Gareth Clough in consecutive overs to finish with 4 for 42, which atoned for two noughts with the bat.

Nottinghamshire's chances were largely killed off when three wickets in as many overs took out their middle order, Stephen Fleming bowled charging at Patel, and seamer Amjad Khan having Dave Hussey caught behind, then yorking Chris Read.