Critchley’s century stifles Kent fightback

Brian Jeeves
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Essex v Kent – LV= Insurance County Championship Division One – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Day Two – Report

Kent 207 (and 4/1 (5.0 overs)

Essex 458/8 dec

Kent won the toss and elected to bat

Kent trail Essex by 247 runs with nine-second innings wickets standing

Matt Crichley’s brilliant century, coupled with notable knocks from Alastair Cook and Simon Harmer has left Eesex in a strong position on day two of their LV= Insurance County Championship Division One encounter with Kent at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford.

Matt Critchley (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

Responding to Kent’s 207, the home side resumed their overnight tally of 106 without loss. Opener Nick Browne was replaced by Robin Das after retiring due to a concussion injury. While Cook went on to reach 87 before he was trapped lbw by his former Essex team mant, Matt Quinn, it was Kent who fought back during the opening session of the day, taking four Essex wickets for a further 72 runs.

Alastair Cook (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

However, Critchley came to the crease and scored 117 off 168 balls during a 264 minutes stint. His eighth wicket partnership with Harmer gleaned 118 runs, the latter finished unbeaten on 81 from 91. Paul Walter contributed 45 before the hosts declared on 458 for eight – a lead of 251. Arshdeep Singh and Hamidullah Qadri took three wickets apiece for Kent.

Tawanda Muyeye was dismissed off the final delivery of the day, lbw to Sam Cook, and leaving Kent with a mountain to climb.

Earlier in the contest, Cook returned figures of three for 19, while Jamie Porter claimed 3/47 as Kent were knocked over in fifty-nine overs. Opening bat Ben Compton top-scored for Kent with 47 off 81 balls.

Sam Cook (Courtesy of Essex Cricket)

Speaking to Martin Smith from the ECB Reporters Network, Essex allrounder Critchley said: “It was a pleasing century because it was quite a slow wicket and I had to work hard early on to get set. A lot of runs came later as the bowlers got tired, particularly in the last session. As I said, it’s quite a slow wicket and they set defensive fields as you would on those type of wickets so there weren’t too many gaps there.

  “I had to be patient and wait for the bad balls to come along although there weren’t too many of them until later but towards the end, I really got going and we set ourselves up really well in the game.

  “I’ve worked hard on my game with the bat and look to capitalise on the bowlers missing their length and obviously it’s so short here that when you beat the field, you get four.

  “It was good batting with Simon Harmer, we put on over 100 and he batted beautifully. It was also nice to bat with Paul Walter and Rosso and put on some decent partnership with them and get a decent score on the board.

 Critchley added: “Unfortunately, Simon ran out of time to get his 100 because we wanted to get five overs at Kent this evening.

  “Probably Sam Cook and Simon Harmer are two bowlers you just would not want to face when you’ve got to go out for five overs. With the ball spinning for Harmy and nipping back for Sam. Thankfully we got a reward with the last ball of the day.

 “Against our bowling attack, I feel it will be difficult for Kent, it’s hard enough to score against them on this wicket and they are going to have to take risks if they want to score or sit in for a long time if they want to survive. That’s the beauty for us of being 250 in front on first innings.”

Play resumes on Friday at 11am.

Essex: NLJ Browne, AN Cook, T Westley (Capt), RJ Das, MJJ Critchley, PI Walter, AM Rossington (WK), SR Harmer, DAJ Bracewell, SJ Cook, JA Porter

Kent: TS Muyeye, BG Compton, JL Denly, HZ Finch, JA Leaning (Capt), JM Cox (WK), JDM Evison, G Stewart, Hamidullah Qadri, MR Quinn, Arshdeep Singh

Umpires: RJ Bailey and GD Lloyd

Scorers: AE Choat and LAR Hart

Match Referee: SJ Davis

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk