Ealham eases pain for Marsh

Kent 498-9 v Leicestershire
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The Independent Online
Mark Ealham, the England all-rounder, scored a career-best 139 as Kent, enduring a day mostly washed out by rain, finished on 498 for 9. Presuming they declare overnight, Kent now have two days in which to bowl Leicestershire out twice. Such an achievement, if fulfilled, will go some way to easing the disappointments of their captain, Steve Marsh, left stranded two runs short of his second three-figure score of the season.

Hundreds clearly do not come easily to Ealham, and this, the third of his career, was only his first at home in nine seasons with Kent. Painstakingly crafted, he spent just over 75 minutes in the 90s, needing 40 balls just to move off 96, a score which he seemed to becalm him until James Ormond supplied the ball he neatly tucked off his hips. When he was eventually out, he had batted for six and a half hours, faced 328 balls and struck 19 boundaries.

Ormond, who ended with 5 for 107, is another 19-year-old starting to make waves. On Wednesday morning he damaged Kent with three quick wickets before going off the boil in the afternoon, when he and the other Leicestershire bowlers prematurely settled for tea and cake before Kent were quite ready to take it.

A strapping 6ft 3in, he looks and bowls like a zestful David Millns, the man he followed from the Pavilion End. Where he differs from Millns, however, is in the thought he lends to his art, and pacy though the teenager undoubtedly is, he is not the headless tearaway Millns was when he first started.

Ormond has twice been on a hat-trick in this match, and yesterday's chance to perform the feat came when he removed Ealham, who suffered the cruel demise of seeing a miscued drive rebound from foot to stump, and Julian Thompson also bowled, this time off an inside edge.

Marsh, meanwhile, has not had a fulfilling week. On Saturday, his team were outclassed by Surrey in the Benson and Hedges Cup final. Yet Marsh is the consummate team man. He has been around long enough to not let yesterday's slight mishap worry him and would have been content with the way he and Ealham contributed to the county champions' woe by adding 146 for the eighth wicket.

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