Match Report: Kent v Essex


Kent v Essex
LV= Insurance County Championship
The Spitfire Ground, St.Lawrence, Canterbury
Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 April 2023

Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Paul Walter, Matt Critchley, Michael Pepper (wk), Simon Harmer, Doug Bracewell, Shane Snater, Ben Allison, Jamie Porter.

Kent: Ben Compton, Zak Crawley, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Jack Leaning, Jordan Cox, Sam Billings (c & wk), Joey Evison, Hamidullah Qadri, Wes Agar, Nathan Gilchrist, Conor McKerr.

Match Details:

Umpires: David Millns & Nigel Llong
Match Referee: Simon Hinks
Toss: Essex won the toss and elected to bat
Scorecard: View here

Result: Match Drawn (Kent 8 points, Essex 12 points)

Day Four Report:

The LV= Insurance match between Kent and Essex at Canterbury ended in a draw after the weather wiped out the final day.

Heavy rain fell throughout and play was officially abandoned at 1pm.

Kent had ended day three on 342 for seven, trailing Essex’s first innings total of 451 for five declared by 109, but a draw had always looked likely and in total 206 overs were lost across the four days.

The limited amount of cricket there was had been highly entertaining, with Nick Browne and Tom Westley scoring 159 and 148 for the visitors and Zak Crawley responding with a brilliant 170 on day three, but conditions on Sunday started badly and had no realistic prospect of improving.

Day Three Highlights:

Day Three Reaction: Simon Harmer:

Simon Harmer said: “I think it’s pretty obvious that there’s not going to be much cricket tomorrow so both teams wanted to maximise points.

“We wanted to try and get as many batting points and we could and if we’d bowled them out cheaply we could have gone for the win, but I think it’s quite obvious that’s out of the questions so we’re just trying to take as many wickets and get as many bowling points as we can.

“I think with the newer ball there was definitely something there but as the ball got softer and older it started to turn less and less.

“I think the optimist would have been looking at a win, but if you look at how we played when we played conventionally, they only took one wicket. I think the wicket was quite flat and it’s a very good four-day wicket. I think if this had been played over four days it would have been a hell of a game, but with the weather playing a part and the amount of time we’ve lost realistically we weren’t going to be able to pull off the impossible.

“Zak obviously took his chances. He wanted to play aggressively and Kent wanted to try and get as many points as possible. He got the rub of the green and there was a dropped catch, but don’t take that away from him, he’s a hell of a player and hopefully he can have a successful Ashes series this summer.”

Day Three Report:

An innings of 170 from Zak Crawley helped Kent to 342 for seven on day three of their LV= Insurance County Championship game with Essex at Canterbury, a deficit of 109.

Despite the Kent player making his highest score for the Club, Essex kept Kent in check thanks largely to Simon Harmer, who took 4/141.

Earlier Nick Browne hit 159 before Essex declared on 451 for five. Tom Westley made 148 and Michael Pepper was unbeaten on 52, but with 118 overs lost to the weather on days one and two and the forecast for Sunday looking bleak, the draw now looks the most likely outcome.

For the first time in the match, the Spitfire Ground was bathed in sunshine when play began and Essex immediately went on the attack.

Westley drove the first ball of the day through the covers for four but he subsequently perished for 148 to an astounding piece of fielding by Daniel Bell-Drummond.

When he hooked Conor McKerr to the square leg boundary it looked almost certain to be a six, but Bell-Drummond managed to grab the ball in mid-air and flick it back over to the rope to Ben Compton.

Wickets continued to fall as the Essex batters favoured quick runs over conserving their wicket as the score moved to 330-4 when Matt Critchley was wonderfully caught in his follow-through by McKerr.

That brought Pepper to the crease with a license to play his shots. And play his shots he did, including a spectacular ramped six and a lofted six over extra cover. He and Browne put on an entertaining 94, before Browne eventually fell for a wonderful 159.

Pepper, making the most of a rare outing in the red-ball side made a run-a-ball 52 and finished not out as Essex declared on 451-5 with all five batting bonus points safely secured.

Openers Crawley and Ben Compton moved cautiously to 13 without loss at lunch, after which the former launched an aggressive counter-attack, driving, cutting and even reverse-sweeping his way to his century.

He smashed Harmer back over his head for six to pass 50 and pulled the same bowler through mid-wicket to get to three figures, but an opening stand of 162 ended Harmer bowled Compton for 46 with a ball that trickled off the foot of his bat before hitting the stumps.

Harmer then trapped Bell-Drummond lbw for 23 with the final ball of the afternoon session and had Leaning caught by a tumbling Paul Walter at mid-wicket soon after the break.

Cox slashed a Doug Bracewell delivery to Harmer at backward point to give Essex their fourth wicket.

Harmer then bowled Sam Billings middle stump for one and having passed his previous highest score for Kent, 168 vs Glamorgan in 2018, Crawley was finally caught behind off Jamie Porter, with Kent still 14 short of the follow on target.

Joey Evison subsequently edged one past gully to get the hosts within 150 and although Hamid Qadri was caught behind off Matt Critchley for 16, Evison and McKerr batted through to stumps.

Day Two Highlights:

Day Two Reaction: Tom Westley

Essex’s Tom Westley said: “It’s always nice to score a hundred. It’s been a bit frustrating this season getting 40s. I’d sort of carried on my form from last year, getting starts and a few 50s, so I’m pleased to get a few runs and obviously pleased for Brownie as well. It’s a shame about the weather but I think we’re in a strong position.

“I think it’s a good wicket. I think by their own admission they probably didn’t bowl as well as they would have liked with the new ball and hopefully if we get it right with the new ball we can create a few chances, but so far it’s been a really good batting wicket.

“We’re trying to be a bit more positive as a batting unit and Chef [Alastair Cook] has taken it to another level. I was joking with him that if he was in now he’d probably be on about 350. Maybe he’s making a late push for an England call-up, or recall!

“I was fortunate, I think, that I got a few bad balls early on that got me going. In the past, when I’ve been at my best I’ve played quite positively and maybe I went away from that a little bit in the last 12 months. I’m really fortunate it’s paid off so far.

“You sometimes do need someone to anchor the batting and I think Brownie’s done that exceptionally well. We’re now trying to get as many runs as quickly as we possibly can so we can get some batting bonus points which we’ve been a bit short of this year and then get bowling. We need to take 20 wickets, which is going to be a challenge, but you never know.”

Day Two Report

Tom Westley and Nick Browne both hit centuries as Essex advanced to 289 for one on day two of their LV= Insurance County Championship game with Kent at Canterbury.

Westley scored a swashbuckling, unbeaten 138, which contrasted with Browne’s more measured 105 not out, but for the second day running conditions halted Essex’s progress, with just 32 overs possible.

Kent’s bowlers toiled again and Westley and Browne have now put on an unbeaten 246 for the second wicket.

Almost incessant overnight rain left the Spitfire Ground outfield saturated, wiping out the entire morning session, but conditions slowly improved.

Essex were on 164 for one when play finally got started at 3.15 pm and they carried on where they’d left off on day one, scoring at four an over, with only the occasional alarm.

Westley reached three figures, from 129 balls, with a violent straight drive off Conor McKerr that flew to the Pavilion End boundary and it was 245 for one at tea, the duo having added 81 without loss in 22 overs.

Browne reached three figures from 236 balls when he hit Hamid Qadri for two through the covers. The celebration from both Browne and Westley when Browne reached his century showed the significance of the knock for the Essex opener.

The leaden skies encouraged him to accelerate and he smacked a four off Evison before bad light forced the players off at 5:40 pm.

With the rain falling once again play was subsequently abandoned for the day and just 74 overs have been bowled over days one and two.

Day One Highlights:

Day One Report:

Essex dominated a truncated first day against Kent in the LV= Insurance County Championship at Canterbury, posting 164 for one.

Tom Westley was unbeaten on 71 and Nick Browne made 54 before the rain intervened.
Kent debutant Wes Agar took the only wicket to fall when he had Alastair Cook caught behind, leaving him with figures of 1/39.

The players initially came off for bad light during the afternoon session and heavy rain subsequently saw play officially abandoned at 5 pm.

Essex dominated what little action there was. After winning the toss, they chose to bat in Baltic conditions and approached the morning session like wizened old-timers taking on a callow bowling attack. They didn’t run because they didn’t need to, hitting 17 boundaries before they scored their first single.

Kent’s sole breakthrough came when Alastair Cook, who’d made a rapid 39 from just 30 balls, edged Agar behind to Sam Billings.

It was the only bright moment for Kent during an otherwise one-sided session that saw Essex reach 121 for one at lunch.

Westley drove the second ball of the afternoon session, from Conor McKerr, through point to reach his half-century and Browne passed the same landmark with an elegant cover drive off Nathan Gilchrist.

The visitors had cantered to 159 for one when bad light halted play at 2.19 pm. There was an-eight minute resumption before rain started to fall and with no realistic prospect of conditions improving, the umpires called a halt for the day.