Essex hold the upper hand despite Kent fightback

Kent v Essex – Vitality County Championship Division One – The Spitfire Ground – Day Three – Report

Essex 591 for seven (dec)

Kent 394

Essex won the toss and elected to bat

Kent trails Essex by 197 runs

Despite still holding an advantage, the Essex bowlers found Kent in a dogged mood on day three of their Vitality County Championship Division One clash at The Spitfire Ground.

Resuming on 118 for four, Kent batted until the final over of the day’s play, boosting their hopes of salvaging something from a match otherwise dominated by the visitors.

Joe Denly scored 87 during 259 minutes in the middle, while Harry Finch hit 85 off 124 balls, helping the home side to 394, a deficit of 197 runs. Matt Critchley with figures of five for 88 for the visitors.

Earlier in the contest, Jordan Cox scored 207 off 255 balls against his former employers during a 325-minute stint at the crease. His masterful inning included twenty-one 4s and five 6s.

Michael Pepper contributed 82, complimenting earlier knocks from Nick Browne (65) and Dean Elgar (77). Essex’s declaration came on 591 for seven, but not before Shane Snater had got in on the act with a career-best 83* – Arafat Bhuiyan, Joey Evison and Matt Parkinson with two wickets apiece for the beleaguered Kent attack.

Speaking to Fred Atkins from the ECB Reporters Network, Critchley said: “It was nice to get into a position we wanted to be in by the end of the day. Obviously, it was pretty tough work out there, it’s a pretty slow wicket but we’re in a position, 200 ahead to take 10 wickets on the final day and hopefully, we get that done.

“It was nice to get a long bowl for once. I hope Sammy (Cook) is all right but we probably knew it was going to be hard work here with how we selected the team and one of our best bowlers going down like that wasn’t ideal but yeah, we got through the overs pretty quickly.

“I think they played pretty well to be fair but the weight of runs we got in the first innings and Tommy giving himself a bowl and breaking those partnerships has given us a chance to win.

Play resumes on Monday at 11am.

Kent: BG Compton, Z Crawley, DJ Bell-Drummond (Capt), MK O’Riordan, JL Denly, HZ Finch (WK), JDM Evison, G Stewart, WA Agar, MW Parkinson, Arafat Bhuiyan

Essex: NLJ Browne, D Elgar, T Westley (Capt), JM Cox, MJJ Critchley, MS Pepper (WK), SR Harmer, S Snater, AP Beard, SJ Cook, JA Porter

Umpires: M Newell and T Lungley

Scorers: LAR Hart and P Parkinson

Match Referee: JJ Swift

Elsewhere in Division One, champions Surrey were thrashed by an innings and 278 runs at the Utilita Bowl by Hampshire.

Toby Albert and Nick Gubbins both scored centuries for the home side, while there were five-wicket hauls for Kyle Abbott and Felix Organ, while Liam Dawson finished with match figures of seven for 66.

In Division Two, Middlesex trails Sussex by 151 runs at Lord’s with four first-innings wickets standing.

John Simpson (167) and Cheteshwar Pujara (129) helped Sussed to 554 for nine (dec). Sam Robson (136) and Ryan Higgins (106) with three figures apiece for the hosts.

Brian Jeeves