Taylor opts for caution

<preform>Kent 359 and 229-5 dec<br>Gloucestershire 248<br>Match drawn</preform>
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The Independent Online

The collusion between the captains ultimately came to nought, so the final day was a forlorn attempt by Gloucestershire to reach a batting bonus point and then plenty of batting practice for Kent on an increasingly flat pitch.

The collusion between the captains ultimately came to nought, so the final day was a forlorn attempt by Gloucestershire to reach a batting bonus point and then plenty of batting practice for Kent on an increasingly flat pitch.

So not a lot to excite, although there was never likely to be considering that in the corresponding fixture last season, Chris Taylor, in his first match as captain, offered Kent a target of 302 in 80 overs and watched them win easily.

Sportsmen have long memories so when David Fulton suggested a 50-50 match, something like 270 in 75 overs, Taylor ignored it, pleading the green pitch, a long outfield that resembled a grazing meadow and the fact that they had scored at about two runs an over in the first innings. Instead he wanted somewhere nearer 220.

"I don't mind a fair target but I'm not giving them the game," explained Fulton, so any hope of a contest was gone.

He did, however, give them his wicket, as did Robert Key when he hooked Steve Kirby to long leg. It was a shame because the much discussed England No 3 looked in good touch, one back-foot punched drive straight back past the bowler proving his quality.

Unlike a few who plunder runs and massage their averages when matches are dead, Key needs the heat of battle to perform.

Kirby celebrated his moral victory with an understated clap rather than his more usual theatrics but the fiery fast bowler has certainly added some thrust to the Gloucestershire attack. They needed it as Jon Lewis cannot carry an attack on his own. But what should we make of Upul Chandana?

The Sri Lankan spinner took 10 wickets against Australia in Cairns last year but hardly turned a ball yesterday. A pitch with bounce would suit him but they have been rare at Bristol in recent seasons and for all his variations - leg-spinners, off-spinners, quicker balls, express quicker balls and even quicker balls - he lacked threat. Darren Stevens particularly enjoyed blocking his quick ones, treating him like a medium-pace bowler and then smashing his more flighted offerings over mid-on and midwicket. He needs the sun to shine this summer, and not only to keep warm.

A scorched earth and dustbowls should help him, otherwise it could be a long season for him as indeed it will be for the Gloucestershire faithful unless Taylor discovers a little more aggression and takes a gamble.

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