Match Report: Essex v Kent


Essex v Kent

LV= Insurance County Championship
The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford


Team News:

Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Robin Das, Matt Critchley, Paul Walter, Adam Rossington (wk), Simon Harmer, Doug Bracewell, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.

Kent: Tawanda Muyeye, Ben Compton, Joe Denly, Harry Finch, Jack Leaning (c), Jordan Cox (wk), Joey Evison, Grant Stewart, Hamid Qadri, Matt Quinn, Arshdeep Singh.

Match Details:

Umpires: Graham Lloyd and Rob Bailey
Match Referee: Steve Davis
Toss: Kent won the toss and elected to bat
Result: Essex won by 7 wickets

Scorecard: View Here

Day Four Highlights:

Day Four Reaction: Tom Westley

Day Four Report:

Essex made heavy weather of scoring the 30 runs required to beat Kent by seven wickets and secure their fourth successive LV= Insurance County Championship victory.

It needed Paul Walter to keep his head when others around him were losing theirs and stroke the winning runs 23 balls into what turned into a more difficult run chase than necessary.

Essex attempted to make light work of reaching the target and were halfway there from the first over bowled by Hamid Qadri. But that was the prelude to the drama.

Dan Lawrence was first to go when he tried to hit Grant Stewart’s first ball out of the ground but only skied to mid-on.

Adam Rossington followed in the next over, lbw attempting to reverse sweep Qadri, and first-innings centurion Matt Critchley departed first ball to a caught-and-bowled by the offspinner, taken running back and over his head at mid-on.

That was 23-3 in the third over, but Essex managed to get over the line in the next over to take 21 points and keep up the pressure on Championship leaders Surrey.

Earlier in the morning, Essex needed eight overs before breaking the stubborn overnight partnership, but once Qadri departed to a smart catch at short square leg by Simon Harmer the innings collapsed in just six balls.

Sam Cook added a second of the morning three balls later when Matt Quinn played on and Joey Evison fell lbw to the first ball of Harmer’s 44th over of the innings. Harmer finished with four for 72 to take his season’s tally to 41 wickets and Cook had figures of four for 46.

Day Three Highlights:

Day Three Reaction: Mick Lewis

Day Three Report:

Harry Finch batted for five hours in recording a valiant century for Kent that defied Essex from claiming a LV= Insurance County Championship victory inside three days.

The 28-year-old’s 114 at a strike-rate of exactly 50 was his first sortie into three-figures since he compiled one two years ago against his former county Sussex, and the fifth of a mercurial first-class career.

Essex, looking for a fourth successive win to put pressure on Championship leaders Surrey, endured a frustrating day in the field as Finch led the way in partnerships of 93 and 72 with Ben Compton (39) and Joey Evison (56 not out) for the second and sixth wickets.

Simon Harmer whirled away for 38 overs, taking three wickets for a parsimonious 64 runs, but it was not enough to prevent Kent taking the match into a fourth day and ensuring Essex will have to bat again, Kent finished the day on 265-7, 14 runs ahead with three wickets in hand.

Essex had taken a wicket with the last ball of day two but had to wait until the 14th ball of the afternoon session on day three for the second. It needed a spectacular one-handed diving catch at leg gully by Harmer to end Ben Compton’s barnacle-like 122-ball innings after the Kent second wicket ate into Essex’s 251-run advantage on first innings.

Until that breakthrough moment, it looked as if Compton and Finch had bedded in for the long haul, scoring just a solitary leg-bye during one 19-ball sequence of dot balls. Compton regularly thrust out a long left leg to repel Harmer to the extent that the offspinner conceded just 16 runs from his first 11 overs of the day before briefly relinquishing his occupancy at the River End.

Finch, playing only his second Championship game of the season, was by far the more aggressive player in that second-wicket stand and reached his half-century from 105 balls. His second fifty was quicker, taking just 78 balls before raising his helmet to acknowledge the milestone.

Jack Leaning adopted the Compton mantle, batting for 42 balls before one kept low from Harmer and trapped him lbw for six from a 35-run stand.

The injured Jordan Cox emerged with Twanda Muyeye as his runner. However, the helper was not required to move on Cox’s behalf as the wicketkeeper was scoreless for 16 deliveries and remained motionless on his crease when Sam Cook appealed successfully for lbw.

Essex might have broken the stubborn fifth-wicket resistence between Finch and Evison much earlier. Evison, on 10, received a double reprieve in the blink of an eye when dropped by wicketkeeper Adam Rossington, who then missed the potential stumping as Evison overbalanced. It was a miss that was to prove costly.

Essex tossed the new-ball to Harmer after just three overs and with his third ball he struck as Finch swept loosely to Paul Walter at short midwicket. Joe Denly, batting despite suffering back spasms, felt his side as he on-drove his first ball for four, but only lasted another six deliveries before he turned Harmer into Sir Alastair Cook’s hands at slip.

Evison nudged a single to reach a 96-ball fifty before Grant Stewart hit consecutive boundaries to take Kent within a run of making Essex bat again, But he then tried to take them into the black with another boundary, but only picked out long-off to give Critchley a wicket.

Day Two Highlights:

Day Two Reaction: Matt Critchley

Day Two Report:

Matt Critchley’s second century of the season put Essex in the driving seat for a fourth successive LV= Insurance County Championship victory on a strange day of substitutes and concussion repercussions at Chelmsford.

The 26-year-old faced just 168 balls in rattling up 117 runs as Essex put Kent to the sword while building a first-innings lead of 251. Critchley entered at 158-3 and departed 64 overs later on 408-7 when he picked out long-leg to give part-time spinner Jack Leaning a rare wicket.

In between Critchley shared a century stand with Simon Harmer – who hit a swashbuckling season’s best 83 not out from 92 balls – and other partnerships worth 71 and 49 with Paul Walter and Adam Rossington respectively. In the process the former Derbyshire all-rounder took his season’s tally in the Championship past 700 runs.

Sir Alastair Cook had laid the foundations with a 176-ball 87, but some lusty late six-hitting by Critchley, Harmer and Doug Bracewell gilded the lily as Essex declared on 458-8. Hamid Qadri bore the brunt with figures of three for 120, while the Indian international Arshdeep Singh returned best Championship analysis of three for 58.

And to cap Essex’s day, Tawanda Muyeye departed to the last ball of the five overs left for Kent to see out when he went lbw pushing forward to Sam Cook for nought. Kent finished on 4-1.

But the real drama of the day came before play with the news that Nick Browne had retired hurt after feeling groggy overnight and failing an off-field concussion test. The left-handed opener was hit on the head by a short ball from Arshdeep Singh in the evening session but batted on for a further two and a half overs before being visibly ill after the penultimate delivery of the day. He then passed an on-field check and saw out the over.

Robin Das, who had originally stood in as the nominated substitute while Dan Lawrence made his way back from Old Trafford where he was stood down by England, then became Browne’s replacement.

Das lasted five balls before he became another entry in the scorebook that needed an asterisk: the concussion substitute was caught by the substitute wicketkeeper Harry Finch, standing in for Jordan Cox who further depleted Kent’s resources with a thigh injury.

Having put on 117 for the first wicket, thanks to the efforts of three men – but mainly Cook – Essex lost another almost immediately when Tom Westley was trapped lbw to give Arshdeep a second wicket.

Cook had looked in sparkling form the night before, stroking a dozen boundaries in his 64. But he batted for a further hour-and-a-half in the morning session, adding just 23 runs from 70 balls before looking a little disconsolate at being judged lbw to former Essex seamer Matt Quinn.

Lawrence, having made the journey down from Manchester, played an entertaining cameo of 25 that included an effortless six over midwicket before he attempted to sweep Hamid Qadri in a similar direction only to become a third lbw victim.

Critchley hammered Qadri over long-leg for the six that took Essex beyond Kent’s first-innings 207 with only four wickets down, though it had taken them 17 overs longer. However, Walter’s 90-ball 45 was ended by the third delivery with the new-ball as he played down the wrong line to Arshdeep.

Rossington twice straight-drove Joey Evison for fours in a bright partnership with Critchley before he was deceived by Qadri’s flight and turned to see his stumps disturbed.

Once Harmer had got off the mark to his 28th ball, he cut loose and needed just another 51 balls for his half-century, reached with a huge six off Qadri. But it was Critchley who caught the eye with some breathtaking, but orthodox hitting, and reach three-figures from 161 balls by pulling Quinn through midwicket for his 14th boundary that included two maximums.

Harmer, with five maximum, traded maximums with Doug Bracewell off the beleaguered Kent spinners before the New Zealander was stumped to prompt the declaration.

Day One Highlights:

Day One Reaction: Sam Cook

Day One Report:

Alastair Cook notched the 123rd half-century of his bejewelled career as he steered Essex into a commanding position on the first day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Kent.

Cook, still there at the close on 64, was joined in an unbeaten first-wicket stand of 106 by Nick Browne, who was painstakingly attempting to rebuild his flagging form after a run of three successive ducks. He was on the path to redempton with 31 from 117 balls.

Earlier, Kent elected to bat on a green-tinged wicket under heavy grey clouds that necessitated the use of floodlights after an hour. Their innings lasted just short of two sessions for 207 as the lower-order threw away their wickets with some abandon.

Only a sedate 58-run fourth-wicket partnership between Ben Compton, who recorded an 81-ball 47, and captain Jack Leaning interrupted a regular clatter of wickets with nagging seamers Sam Cook and Jamie Porter sharing six of them equally.

Tawanda Muyeye survived a decent chance to Matt Critchley at third slip before he was beaten for pace to present Sam Cook with the first of three wickets for 19 in 11 overs.

Next ball Joe Denly’s miserable season continued when he played down the wrong line and was caught behind for his fourth duck of the season, and eighth in single figures from 10 visits to the crease.

To compound Kent’s problems, Harry Finch faced 15 deliveries without scoring when he set off for a non-existent single to gully where Paul Walter swooped and hit the single stump he could see.

Compton and Leaning settled in for a stand that needed 17 overs to put on fifty, and that despite Compton hitting Doug Bracewell for three successive boundaries, two through the covers, the other a flick off his legs.

However, to the last ball before lunch Compton attempted to dig out a fuller delivery from Simon Harmer and only succeeded in chipping the ball back tamely to the bowler.

Leaning followed soon after the break when he got a thick edge to one from Cook that went away from him and wicketkeeper Adam Rossington took a fine diving catch to his right. Joey Evison went shouldering arms to one that came back late from Bracewell.

Grant Stewart smashed Harmer for two straight sixes in a brisk, seven-over stand of 43 with Jordan Cox before Porter found a peach of a ball to remove Cox.

Porter then set a short-ball honey-trap for Stewart who hooked straight to one of an army on the boundary, and two balls later Matt Quinn skied rashly to midwicket. Arshdeep Singh swept Critchley for a huge six and wafted lazily at the next ball and was stumped without bothering to look back.

When Essex replied in the evening session, Cook slipped into imperious mode after a watchful start, showing an array of shots around the wicket in depositing Stewart for three successive fours, though he was put down off the same bowler to s sharp chance in the gully.

Of the fifty partnership in 17 overs, Cook contributed 38 with Nick Browne playing second fiddle with a dozen; of the century partnership Browne had 27 and Cook 63. Cook passed fifty for the fifth time this season when he swept Hamid Qadri for his 10th boundary.

Essex, incidentally, will be reinforced with the inclusion of Dan Lawrence in their batting line-up on day two as he returns south after being the spare man in the England XI for the concurrent fourth Test at Old Trafford. He will replace Robin Das.