Kent on the verge of defeat
Kent on the verge of defeat

Although facing defeat Kent battled the elements and ensured this game went to the fourth and final day and for Nottinghamshire needing to bat again ending day three 214/7 and with a lead of twenty-three.

Due to persistent rain prior to the commencement of day three the most ardent of supporters were made to wait for any prospect of play until a pitch inspection at 5pm – Content with the work the ground-staff had put in they gave the go ahead to get underway.

With a scheduled start of 5:45 Kent had the prospect of facing fifty-five over’s to take the game into the fourth and final day.

Commencing on 105/4 Kent’s overnight not-out batsman Will Gidman (12*) was joined at the crease by nominated substitute Joe Weatherley not Sam Billings (39*ret) due to the latters England Lions call-up, the Kent loanee getting off the mark first ball guiding the ball to third man.

In Kent’s favour Notts’ and England opening bowler Jake Ball would no longer participate in this match as a precautionary measure after leaving the field the night before with a knee scare.

Gidman received a fright off the bowling of James Pattinson jabbing down on a Yorker-length ball which squirted between wicket-keeper and first slip for four (118/4).

The Kent pair were managing the arrears well however Gidman’s endeavour ended (26) clean-bowled by Steven Mullaney with Kent 130/5 (Weatherley 11*), trailing by sixty-one runs.

Joining Weatherley in the middle Kent’s Darren Stevens set about a patient innings suppressing his flair to ensure Kent’s longevity at the crease however no sooner did he open his shoulders striking the ball for four the umpires took off the players for rain (137/5; Weatherley 12*, Stevens 6*).

The tea interval was brought forward thirty minutes and should Kent see out the day they would now face two less over’s than the original fifty-five scheduled.

With lights ablaze and an overcast and gloomy sky play continued on time after tea. Stevens was finding opportunities to score runs more freely than prior to the interval – although fortunate when dropped on fifteen. Undeterred he then passed 11,000 first class runs for Kent whilst he and Weatherley brought the deficit below fifty and surpassed one-fifty (151/5; Weatherley 12*, Stevens 20*).

A worrying moment for Kent as Gurney hit Stevens on the helmet sending the Kent man to his hands and knees (165/5; Stevens 30*, Weatherley 15*) but after a brief time-out and tended to by the physio the Kent all-rounder was OK to continue – Stevens had looked to duck a short ball which kept a little lower than expected.

The blow to Stevens had an adverse effect on the Kent side as Weatherley (16) was brutally bowled by a rapid Yorker (167/6) and with the break in play and another visit to the middle by the Kent physio Stevens (31*) immediately left the field retired hurt, clearly feeling the effects of the earlier strike to the helmet.

Matt Coles replaced the forlorn Stevens but Notts were sensing victory and from a first ball that Coles somehow managed to evade losing his wicket the next ball he wasn’t so lucky edging behind to Read – Coles out for zero and Kent 167/7, effectively eight with the Stevens injury.

Despite Kent’s resoluteness the short period in and around Stevens’ injury and departure combined with the loss of wickets looked to hand the game to the hosts however and despite Kent being on the verge of eliminating the deficit and forcing the hosts to bat again the elements once more played a part taking the players off for rain (Kent 186/7; Rouse 1*, Milne 16*).

Play restarted at 2110 with twelve over’s remaining – With Kent seven, effectively eight down, and trailing by five runs, would the game go to a fourth and final day?

Adam Milne (20*) straight drives Samit Patel for four and Kent surpass the Notts score meaning this game will require a fourth innings for the home side to win (193/7; Rouse 4*).

Rouse (12*) followed partner Milne’s lead (21*) striking bowler Patel down the ground and with once bounce for four it took Kent past two-hundred (202/7).

With three overs remaining in the day Kent (207/7; Rouse 17*, Milne 21*) had ensured day four would be required – ECB rules state the day /night game cannot go later than 10pm and with the change-around of innings there were now insufficient overs.

Kent survived day three and in turn enforced and ensured their hosts would need to win by scoring runs themselves however the session came at a cost with the head injury suffered to Stevens which we all hope is a precautionary measure.

Matt Walker on Darren Stevens playing no further part in the game:

“Darren won’t take any further part in the game. Early assessment suggest a concussion. He’s struggling with a bit of vision in his left eye and he’s got a raging headache, so we’ll get him off to hospital and get him checked out because he’s not 100 per cent at all.”

Kent:

1st innings: 180 (Bell-Drummond 84*; Mullaney 3/2, Pattinson 3/30)

2nd Innings: 214/7 (Billings 39*ret, Stevens 31*ret hurt; Gurney 3/61)

Nottinghamshire:

1st Innings: 371 (Mullaney 168, Hales 85; Coles 3/99, Gidman 2/48)


 
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