Key silences the doubters

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The Independent Online

If anyone has doubts about Robert Key's application they just had to witness the Kent opener's marathon effort here yesterday.

Overlooked or overtaken (depending on your viewpoint) for an England place the 26-year-old Key did not let the disappointment, nor Martin Bicknell, get to him.

In fact, until his rather tame dismissal late in the day, when he slapped a ball from James Benning to Scott Newman in the covers, he looked to have taken root.

There was the glimmer of one chance, when he was just short of his 26th first-class hundred, an edge through the vacant third slip area, in the first over after tea.

Otherwise he had ruled the crease and never let the Surrey bowlers get on top. Only Bicknell was able to restrict his run-making. Bicknell at one stage had claimed four wickets for 17 runs in 19 miserly overs.

But the rest of a depleted Surrey attack, James Ormond has knee trouble, Azhar Mahmood is also still fighting his way back from injury, came in for a bit of stick from the powerfully built Key.

Surrey had only brought Nayan Doshi to Kent with them but on seeing a dry pitch decided it was sensible to call for their leg-spinner Ian Salisbury as well, who was turning out for the Surrey Second XI against Glamorgan.

He did not arrive until two hours had elapsed and so could not be employed in the attack until late in the afternoon session, but as things turned out he was not needed. When Bicknell had done his bit Benning weighed in with three wickets and it was not until the last knockings that Doshi's left-arm spin did the stuff.

By then Key had departed. It was his second century of the season - the first was at Nevil Road, in Bristol, against Gloucestershire last month and it was the second in successive games on this ground (he scored one against Lancashire last year). Thankfully for Kent, Andrew Hall then stuck around long enough to give the home attack a decent total to bowl at today.

* Glamorgan have signed the Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly. He is likely to make his debut against Sussex on 1 June and should be available until at least the end of July.