A quiet Sunday of contemplation and dog-walking could be in order for the Kent captain, David Fulton. Knocked from the top of the County Championship table by resurgent Surrey on Friday, Fulton's side put in another abject display with bat and ball to lose yesterday's C & G Trophy tie against Warwickshire here by nine wickets.
It was the 12th meeting between these old adversaries in the 41-year history of this competition's various guises, but none of Warwickshire's previous six Trophy wins over Kent can have been simpler or as one-sided as this.
Kent's underachieving side of the 1990s considered the Birmingham Test venue their limited-overs bogey ground, and Fulton's class of 2004 may soon develop a similar phobia after this shoddy third-round display.
Cloud cover and drizzle delayed the start for almost half an hour and assisted Nick Knight's decision to bowl first. But Knight's second quandary, of how to tease out Kent's in-form opening batsman Rob Key, proved a much tougher proposition.
Fresh from spending 12 hours batting at The Oval and taking his season's first-class run tally to 893, Key played like a man eager to fill Nasser Hussain's England boots in reaching 45 from 60 balls.
Playing beautifully in the V, Key took on Warwickshire's South African new-ball Test bowler Dewald Pretorius and knocked him out of the attack within three overs. Ironically for Key and Kent, it was the first change, Dougie Brown, who made the breakthrough, having Michael Carberry caught in the slips with only his sixth ball. Ed Smith's appalling run continued and Geraint Jones, playing between Tests, suffered a third-ball duck to add to the England selectors' concerns.
Key hardly put a foot wrong until a running mix-up cost him his wicket and proved the turning point. Clipping the ball to square leg, Key set off for a single only to be sent back by Matt Walker and left high and dry by Neil Carter's throw.
After Key's demise, Knight shrewdly reintroduced Pretorius, his fastest bowler, and was rewarded with a second stint of 3 for 23 that reduced Kent to 94 for 5.
It was left to Fulton to rebuild the innings with a measured, competition-best 78 from 97 balls. It was Fulton's sixth half-century in 83 one-day appearances but merely served to save face as the visitors posted a modest 211.
Carter went five overs into Warwickshire's reply, but the clouds parted soon after and batting became a much simpler proposition for Knight and Mark Wagh in an unbroken, match-winning stand worth 183 in 39 overs. Knight showed his experience, working the ball smoothly into the gaps to reach an unbeaten 74 from 111 balls, but it was Wagh who caught the eye with an elegant 102 not out.
The King Edward's School prodigy reached his maiden limited-overs century for Warwickshire by hooking an Alamgir Sheriyar bouncer to claim the Man of the Match honours and take his side into round four at a canter.Reuse content