Shadford to the rescue

Kent 373 and 81-4 Lancashire 285
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The Independent Online
From unpromising beginnings, Lancashire enjoyed one of the better days of what is, so far, a disappointing early summer. Five down for 113 overnight, still 260 runs behind the considerable total Kent achieved after being asked to bat, their facing the double embarrassment of being required to follow-on looked almost certain.

That fate was avoided as a result of a splendid innings by Graham Lloyd, who made his fourth first-class century of a season in which he has already topped 700 runs.

They might even win this match, denying Kent the opportunity to go to the top of the Championship table. Reduced to 81 for 4 by two rookie seamers before rain washed out the last two hours of the third day's play, Kent must now set a target, and if Lancashire remain good at anything it is batting against the clock.

Much may depend on Paul Strang, Kent's Zimbabwean leg-spinner, who yesterday finished with 7 for 118, bowling with intelligent variety, mixing conventional leg breaks with flippers and googlies. Having to face him at one end and Martin McCague at the other on a wearing pitch, Lancashire might find their task anything but straightforward.

Then again, Lloyd went after Strang yesterday with no little success in a fascinating contest. His three-and-a-half-hour 122 included half a dozen fours and four sixes, all of them smacked back more or less straight over Strang's head.

Credit should be given to two of the supporting cast in a Lancashire team which has been much weakened by injuries. The wicketkeeper, Jamie Haynes, enjoying only his second Championship game in place of Warren Hegg, provided sound support in a sixth-wicket stand of 70, as did Darren Shadford, drafted into a bowling attack lacking Wasim Akram and Peter Martin, who helped Lloyd put on another 70 for the ninth wicket.

It was quite a day for 22-year-old Shadford, playing for the first time since making two appearances in 1995. The tall right-armer found himself on a hat-trick soon after Kent began their second innings, dismissing David Fulton with a ball that kept a shade low and then making the next one rear up to have Alan Wells caught at first slip off the shoulder of the bat.

Paul Ridgway, just 20, had already claimed his maiden first-class wicket on his debut when Matthew Walker was caught behind and Shadford broke through a third time when Trevor Ward, having been dropped at square-leg, drove the next ball straight to cover.