Rain foils Kent's contrived finish

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The Independent Online
Worcestershire 422 and 174-3 Kent 276 and 158-4 Match drawn

A thoroughly frustrating day, brought to a close shortly after 3.30pm by rain and bad light, put paid to a match cursed by the weather since the outset. Kent might have gone top had they won, but in a sense the heavens ensured that justice prevailed.

After struggling to avoid the follow-on on Saturday, Kent were offered a contrived finish by the Worcestershire captain, Tom Moody, who clearly felt his bowlers would not have been up to the task had Kent only been batting for a draw.

The joke bowlers provided Worcestershire with a further 92 runs in the morning, enabling them to set Kent a target of 321 from a minimum of 80 overs. Graeme Hick, 56 not out overnight, did not resume his innings owing to a badly bruised finger.

Kent set off in pursuit and lost Ed Smith at 27, caught high in the gully off Phil Newport. Trevor Ward and Alan Wells then put on 61, but shortly after lunch Ward played on to a well pitched-up delivery from Maneer Mirza and was out for 52.

Mirza, making his debut, is the 19-year-old brother of Parvaz Mirza, the former Worcestershire bowler who died of a heart attack last September aged 24. Maneer Mirza has a smooth action and looks a useful prospect.

After Ward had departed, Wells and Graham Cowdrey kept Kent on course, but like so many before them in this match, they perished just when they looked set to take control.

Cowdrey went first, for 21, caught at slip by Vikram Solanki off Moody. Wells had just smashed Gavin Haynes over extra cover for four when he flashed at an away-swinger from the same bowler and was taken at first slip by Moody.

At 158 for 4 the game was nicely poised, but then the rain came and ruined everything. For Worcestershire, in particular, this summer has been one sodden match after another; Kent, meanwhile, meet Essex at Canterbury tomorrow in a game that should, weather permitting, have a significant bearing on the Championship outcome.