Tail-enders frustrate Kent

Warwickshire 280-9 v Kent
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The Independent Online

Kent might wish there had been no play at all here yesterday. As it was, the hour and 41 minutes that was possible was time enough for them to let Warwickshire well and truly off the hook after enjoying the best of the opening day on Wednesday.

Light rain delayed the start of play until 1.30pm and forced the players off again an hour and 25 minutes later. Kent had advanced their cause immediately when Martin Saggers packed off Mo Sheikh with the day's fifth ball, Matthew Walker taking a fine, tumbling catch at third slip. Even more, Jim Troughton's first-day 120 looked wasted. But another counter-attack caught Kent off guard.

Neil Smith and Melvyn Betts, nine and 10 on the card but not without pedigree as batsmen, conspired to put on 80 very welcome runs in 20 overs, the best stand of the innings, regaining the initiative for the home side.

Betts, who will expect to do some damage with the ball should today be another warm and damp one, is no compliant member of the fast bowlers' union. Durham's record 10th-wicket partnership is still half his.

Yesterday, he hungrily clipped and drove five boundaries, then swivelled on his heels to hook Ben Trott for six. In sight of his second fifty of the season, there was real disappointment when he fell four runs short. Perhaps it was the break for rain that had disturbed his concentration.

On the resumption, presented with a tasty full toss by Peter Trego, he merely clunked the ball back into the bowler's hands.

Trego did the match no service then by zipping one under Smith's nose, prompting the umpires to confer and the batsmen to go off for bad light.

More rain followed and with a quartet of mallards splashing about on the covers, play was called off. Smith will resume today on 38 with Warwickshire in much better shape.