Tail-enders give Kent a hard task

Lancashire 226 & 347 Kent 214 & 174

Derek Hodgson
Friday 10 January 2014 03:28

Brighter, warmer weather and a firmer pitch turned this match yet again, the batsmen avenging some of the indignities of the first two days. Sadly, however, the forecast is for spreading rain.

The casualty list may be critical in determining the outcome. Stuart Law, who damaged his thumb, did not field, which meant that Lancashire, also missing David Byas, were without their regular slips. Andrew Symonds, who might have prevented a record-breaking morning stand, has a back strain and cannot bowl.

A stand of 109 for the ninth wicket by Peter Martin and Glen Chapple was Lancashire's best against Kent since 1879, and the highest ever at Aigburth. It was good value, too.

Both bowlers are centurions and their useful techniques were needed as Lancashire were only 216 ahead when they came together. If they began like tail-enders, and Chapple was just missed at mid-on, they finished like MacLaren and Spooner.

Chapple eventually fell to the new ball, well held at second slip, but Martin, whose blows included a huge mid-wicket six off Mark Ealham, went on to 80 not out to give a hint to the Liverpool club to send round the benefit buckets (£585, half to Christie Hospital).

Kent, it has to be said, bowled some dross, while the Scousers even stopped arguing about El Hadji Diouf.

Kent might have floated Min Patel to buy a wicket and it was a reproach when he at last appeared with the lead 359, and had Gary Keedy snatched at silly point.

Robert Key and David Fulton's retaliation was fierce. Fulton, on 37 and 39, was twice missed at second slip off Ryan Driver and Keedy might have held a sharp return catch off Key. The spinner eventually tempted Key into a mistimed drive to mid-on and Ed Smith might have been snapped up at a sun-dazzled midwicket when on one.

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