Kent left shaken by lengthy delay

Warwickshire 457 Kent 255-5
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Two and a half hours' play was possible here yesterday. Given the washouts elsewhere, this could be considered a bonus, although this did not seem to be the prevalent feeling among disgruntled spectators.

They had witnessed one of those farces in which county cricket seems to specialise, backed up by some typical public relations ineptitude. After Thursday's deluge, it was reasonable to hope for some accurate guidance about yesterday's prospects. A pity, then, that an enquiry made at 10.30am elicited the answer that play was scheduled to start at 11am.

It did start eventually at four o'clock, despite not a drop of rain having fallen in the preceding five hours, nor indeed since before daybreak. The problem was that the bowlers' footholds at the pavilion end refused to dry. Nick Knight, the Warwickshire captain, felt this posed a danger to his players, which was fair.

What was less excusable was that, so far as spectators could see, save for a sprinkling of sawdust nothing was done to help get the game under way. The reasons for not playing were legitimate. But for a professional sport that charges admission, the conclusion unavoidably drawn is that on days like this the game fails miserably.

The surprise was that there was no apparent fuss made by Kent, who needed to win this game and now certainly will not. The openers, David Fulton and Ed Smith, extended their partnership to 184 before Warwickshire fought back.

Smith, fresh from scoring 166 and 93 against Sussex, was brilliantly caught by Mark Wagh at short extra cover for 95, and then Fulton, having completed his fifth hundred of the summer with his 16th boundary, was lured down the pitch by Wagh's flighted off-spin and stumped. With Michael Bevan, Matthew Walker and Matthew Dennington out cheaply, Warwickshire may yet enforce the follow-on and even win.