Walker and Fulton raise the tempo

Worcestershire 459-9 dec Kent 213-3
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The Independent Online
It was activity in the nets that caught the eye yesterday. The action in the middle was generally slow - with the exception of Matthew Walker and David Fulton's quickfire opening stand - when Kent began the long haul after the imposing Worcestershire first-innings total.

The Pavilion Annexe at the St Lawrence Ground has netting draped across the ceiling specifically to keep out the profusion of pigeons in the park. Unfortunately for the county's administrators, a pair of lovelorn birds decided to make their nest on it. Spectators were treated to a comical display of the birds carefully working their way over the undulating material to a corner near the Kent scorer, only to see every twig fall through.

Eventually the hen bird gave up and during the long, slow afternoon when peace reigned, she laid a solitary, white egg. Out in the middle, Walker and Fulton laid into the Worcestershire attack, flaying it for 51 in fewer than eight overs before Stuart Lampitt's first ball nipped back, kept low and rapped Fulton on the pads, ending a 20-ball effort which included a six and four fours.

Walker, who appears to be as wide as he is tall, is a deceptively nippy runner, but his speed between the wickets was tested thoroughly by Trevor Ward though, who called him for a risky third run and the rotund Walker ended up sliding to safety on his stomach. It was his first first-class game of the summer and he produced some beautifully timed shots on his way to a fluent 57 - his highest score for almost two years - punctuated with eight sizzling boundaries.

The acting Kent captain Carl Hooper followed Walker out to the middle and proceeded to punish anything and everything that was remotely off line or of inviting length, as he thumped a half-century off 61 balls in the gloomy evening and brought a dwindling crowd to life with two big sixes over long off and into one of the marquees.

Earlier Worcestershire's seventh-wicket pair of Lampitt and Steven Rhodes had strolled along in the sunshine as they compiled 159 with both batsmen reaching their half-centuries. The Kent attack had been handicapped by the loss of Mark Ealham, who was forced off during the morning session for treatment to bruised ribs on his left side - an injury picked up in the first Test against Pakistan - which hampered his bowling action. The verdict on Ealham's injury later in the day was that it was not serious.

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