Millns starts Kent slide

Cricket Kent 318-8 v Leicestershire
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Kent built a powerful position on the opening day of their Championship match against Leicestershire at Grace Road yesterday, only to spoil it by surrendering three wickets in three overs without scoring a run.

TheChampionship leaders were cruising into what looked to be an impregnable position at 310 for 5 when they were undone by the second new ball. David Millns dismissed Graham Cowdrey for 71 and Martin McCague for a duck, and in-between Phil Simmons trapped Steve Marsh leg-before for 51.

That set Kent back on their heels and left the match evenly poised. Millns finished the day with 2 for 38 and bowled well enough to deserve better, while Simmons had 3 for 43 off 18 overs. One of his victims was Trevor Ward, who hit a magnificent 90 in just under three hours off 139 balls, hitting 15 fours.

It took a sensational running catch on the square-leg boundary by Darren Maddy to remove him. If Maddy had not clung on to the catch, the ball would have carried over the boundary for six.

While Ward was in the middle, Kent looked to be in the driving seat. After the early loss of Matthew Fleming, Ward and David Fulton shared a second-wicket stand of 94 before Fulton edged Simmons to Paul Nixon. Three more half-century partnerships followed - the best of them a sixth- wicket stand of 85 between Cowdrey and his captain, Marsh.

They came together with the score at 225 but took it on to 310 with very few problems until third-placed Leicestershire claimed the new ball half an hour from the close.

The departure of Cowdrey for a battling 71 was a body blow to Kent, who were hoping to capitaise in Leicestershire's loss of their leading wicket- taker, Alan Mullally, to the England Test squad.

Nathan Wood, the 21-year-old son of Barry, the former Lancashire and England opener, is in line for his first-team debut as Lancashire make do without five first-team regulars in the Championship match against Essex, which starts at Chelmsford today.

Wicketkeeper Lyndsay Walker also samples Championship action for the first time for Nottinghamshire in their meeting with Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge. Walker, born in Australia but now qualified to play for England, will take the place of the former Northamptonshire player, Wayne Noon.