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Matt Diner, at County Ground Chelmsford
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
County Championship Division Two: Day one, Kent 17-5
Charl Willoughby’s devastating spell of four wickets in nine balls decimated the Kent batting line-up as the visitors ended the day on 17-5 after rain put pay to much of the first day’s play.
In a campaign which has so far been dominated by bowlers, Kent have often been the exception to the rule, already passing 350 on three occasions.
Late swing, overcast conditions and a greenish pitch all aided the home side, although the visiting batsmen also did not help their cause- playing and missing 16 times during the 9.4 overs which were possible.
After play had started at 2.45pm, it took just two balls for Essex to make their first breakthrough as Scott Newman went for nought, edging a David Masters delivery behind to wicketkeeper James Foster.
Ben Harmison added two, but he was given out leg before after playing across the line to a straight Willoughby delivery, before the same bowler trapped Robert Key in front after the Kent skipper made just one to leave his side 8-3.
Michael Powell lasted just two balls flashing wildly at a wide Willoughby delivery and edging behind to Foster.
Brendan Nash’s approach was more pragmatic, as he left well and only played at deliveries he had to. However after surviving 18 balls there was nothing the Kent overseas man could do to keep out a violently in-swinging Willoughby delivery which sent the West Indian’s off stump cart wheeling out of the ground.
The South African’s astonishing figures of 3.1-1-4-4 were spoilt by Geraint Jones who drove him through the covers in his first delivery at the crease.
Darren Stevens played and missed his first delivery at the crease, before hitting a leg stump half volley from Masters to the boundary, two deliveries later.
And then the rain came at 3.30pm, heavier than what we had seen before and with little sign of improvement the day’s play was called off at 4.40pm, with all the pressure on Stevens and Jones, the visitors last real hope for a decent total.