Lynch pins Kent down

Cricket: Kent 137 and 73-1 Gloucs 321 and 266-8 dec
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KENT, always likely to spoil great expectations, were due for a fall after reaching the last four of the Benson and Hedges Cup and third place in the Championship. Their more fatalistic followers will be pleased that it occurred here, concentrating minds for Tuesday's home semi-final against Somerset.

Reduced to 98 for seven on Friday evening, Kent were dismissed for 137, a deficit of 184, and then assaulted again by a rejuvenated Monte Lynch. His second century of the match - something he never achieved in 17 seasons with Surrey - enabled Jack Russell to impose an unlikely target of 451 off a minimum 127 overs. By the close, Kent had lost Trevor Ward after they had made only 73 of them.

With the weather forecast not good, Russell's decision not to enforce the follow-on had looked questionable, all the more so once both his openers returned to the pavilion with a top score of five between them. Dean Headley nicked Tony Wright's off-bail and in the next over Dean Hodgson played an awful shot to second slip off Martin McCague.

But McCague and Headley, having shared all 10 wickets in the first innings, were driven out of the attack by Lynch, who enjoyed himself even more when spin was introduced. No spinner had managed a wicket in the match thus far and there was little prospect of one from Steve Herzberg, who went for 56 off seven overs.

It was Matthew Fleming who broke the third-wicket stand of 136 by having Bobby Dawson leg before for 58, before Min Patel trapped Lynch for 114.

Mark Ealham's three wickets in 14 balls before tea merely stiffened Russell's resolve and the captain did not halt proceedings until he was out, caught- and-bowled by Patel.

As Kent set off, Ward, beginning with four boundaries, fell victim to Mike Smith, the vastly improved left-arm seamer.

That was Smith's 30th wicket of the season, comfortably surpassing his total for the whole of 1994 and justifying Russell's faith in him as Javagal Srinath's new-ball partner. After suffering the indignity of having the first ball of the day slashed square for six by Fleming, he had wound up Kent's first innings by snaring Steve Herzberg and Dean Headley for ducks with successive balls to finish with figures of six for 66.

The ebullient Fleming ran out of partners and had to be content with the top score, an unbeaten 36 off 30 balls.