Batsmen dominate at Canterbury
Batsmen dominate at Canterbury

Injury-hit Warwickshire mounted a spirited response on day two of their Specsavers County Championship match with Kent played out on featherbed pitch in Canterbury.

After seeing the hosts post a mammoth 585 for seven declared – courtesy of a championship best 166 from Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sean Dickson’s season’s best 161 – the visitors countered with an unbroken opening stand worth 142 in the 47 overs through to stumps.

Will Rhodes hit an attractive 70 and Dom Sibley provided able support with an unbeaten 60 allowing Warwickshire to cut the first-innings deficit to 443 runs at the mid-point of the match.

Kent, resuming on their overnight score of 338 for two, batted on until an hour after lunch in adding 247 in 48.1 overs for a season’s best total.

Home third-wicket partners Bell-Drummond and Dickson scored at a healthy lick in the opening exchanges to extend their stand to 197.

Dickson’s nicely-timed cover drive against Toby Lester for his 17th boundary raised his individual 150, but Dickson’s 390-minute vigil ended with his score on 161 after a mistimed pull to mid-wicket off the bowling of James Wainman.

The wicket gave Warwickshire their only bowling bonus point and very brief respite before Kent cantered past 400 for maximum batting bonus points and Bell-Drummond notched his maiden century of the championship summer.

Bell-Drummond’s cover drive, again off Wainman the left-armer, dissected the cover field for a 13th four and bring up his 181-ball century. It was Bell-Drummond’s first championship hundred since April 2016 against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.

In attempting to plunder quick runs, Kent’s acting captain gifted Wainman another scalp when, with his score on 17, he clipped a wide short one straight to backward point.

Just before lunch, Bell-Drummond reached his 150 from 236 balls with 21 fours and a six and soon went past 153, his previous best in championship cricket scored against Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl in 2014.

The right-hander, who turns 26 next month, eventually went for 166 after 300 minutes at the crease after edging an ambitious drive against Wainman to the keeper.

Delighted with his championship career-best, Bell-Drummond said: “It’s been a while since my last championship hundred so it’s been a great day for me personally.

“I want to move forward from here, take all the positives and keep going in this format. I’ve been doing really well in white-ball cricket but it’s been a tough few years for me in this format, which annoyed me quite a bit, because I prefer red-ball cricket to the others. It’s never too late to learn things in this game and I’ll hope to keep looking forward and put these past three years behind me.

“I’ve still got the hunger, even more so after today, so I’ll be looking to kick on to enjoy and improve in the four-day game.”

After Bell-Drummond’s demise, Ollie Robinson kept the board ticking with a sprightly 78 before his top-edged pull gave Toby Lester a wicket caught in the deep, then Jeetan Patel, having sent down 43 overs of off-spin, had Darren Stevens caught off a skied slog sweep to spark Kent’s declaration and finish with one for 135.

Wainman posted creditable figures of three for 112 for a makeshift Warwickshire attack that had toiled manfully for the opening nine hours of the game.

Bears’ bowling coach, Graeme Welch, had nothing but praise for his bowlers, saying: “Every single pro bowler has been injured at one point or another in their careers, I know I certainly was, but I’ve never known anything like our injury list right now.

“We’ve had a couple of freak ones, some soft tissue injuries as well, but they all seem to have come at once. Ryan Sidebottom has picked up a stress fracture of the shoulder blade – I’ve only ever come across that once before – then Henry Brooks injured his hip making a regulation dive and has been out for three weeks.

“Hopefully they’re all coming back in the next few weeks, but, in the meantime, we’ve brought in a few lads on loan and short contracts and they’ve done all we can ask of them.”

Welch added: “They kept coming at Kent and never gave up despite the score. Wainman was at Yorkshire and has been with us quite a bit this summer and I’m really pleased with how he’s responded.

“Toby Lester has only played a handful of first-class games too, but he kept pushing himself, then Matt Lamb, who’s hardly bowled for the 2nds this year, also did a good job. I couldn’t fault them for the effort they put in and the energy they’ve brought.

“It’s a featherbed of a pitch, there’s not much movement through the air or off the surface, so I think it’s going to be tough going for both teams.”


 
Seo