Wickets tumble at Canterbury
Wickets tumble at Canterbury

Glamorgan and Kent enjoyed three thrilling sessions of cut-and-thrust cricket as 15 wickets fell on the second day of this final Specsavers County Championship match of the summer in Canterbury.

Kent had stumbled to 98 for five at stumps for an overall lead of 171, but talk around the ground centred around England’s 11th hour decision to call up Sam Billings to potentially replace Ben Stokes or Alex Hales in tomorrow’s Fourth ODI against the West Indies at The Kia Oval.

Billings was due to bat with his side in deep trouble on 24 for four in their second innings, as it was, his understudy Adam Rouse emerged from the pavilion to take up the cudgel with aplomb, reaching a gritty 34 not out by the game’s mid-point.

Kent had lost three for nought in eight balls at the start of their reply as Michael Hogan swept to his 500th wicket in all first-class cricket. The Aussie paceman bowled Daniel Bell-Drummond, tied Joe Denly in knots to win an lbw shout and then had Sam Northeast caught on the hook very next ball to reach his milestone.

Rory Smith snared Zak Crawley flush in front and had Sean Dickson caught behind with Kent only 110 runs ahead, bringing Rouse and Darren Stevens together for a swashbuckling sixth-wicket stand worth 61.

Stevens contributed 31 with seven fours before Hogan returned late in the day to peg back his off stump via an inside edge as Stevens aimed to force off the back foot.

Without arguably their three most experienced batsmen in Colin Ingram, Jacques Rudolph and Aneurin Donald, a rookie Glamorgan batting order made a decent fist of their first innings reply in reaching 229 all out for a single batting bonus point.

Kent had appeared well on top after reducing the Welsh to 65 for five, but dogged cameos from Chris Cook, Craig Meschede and Rory Smith enabled the visitors to battle back in the mid-session.

Glamorgan made a poor start after losing Connor Brown lbw in only the third over of a misty morning. Looking to drive against the wily Stevens, Brown was bamboozled by one that drifted away through the air, only to dart in off the pitch and thud Brown on his front pad and leave umpire Nigel Cowley in no doubt. It was Stevens’ 60th first-class wicket of the summer.

Adam Milne, the Kiwi fast bowler making his farewell appearance for Kent, bagged his second wicket of the match soon after by having Jack Murphy caught at cover point. The young right-hander attempted to drive without transferring his weight forward and picked out Daniel Bell-Drummond via a leading edge.

Milne was replaced at the Nackington Road End by Calum Haggett who struck with his first delivery of the game. Pushing in defence at a leg-cutter, David Lloyd edged behind to see Billings take the catch tumbling in front of slip.

Haggett bagged a second when Kiran Carlson, seemingly in two minds as to what shot to play, failed to smother an off-cutter that bounced back onto off stump to make it 65 for five.

Cooke, who scored his maiden first-class century here two seasons ago, dug in either side of lunch to add 65 with sixth-wicket partner Andrew Salter.

With the ball softened and the lacquer diminished, batting became a tad easier until Salter, on 20, risked a drive on the up against Stevens that Daniel Bell-Drummond held one-handed and diving full-length to his right at extra cover.

After spending an hour marooned in the 40s, Cook’s patience finally snapped on 49 when he fenced at one from Haggett to be held in the cordon, but Glamorgan further chipped away at the Kent lead through Meschede (44) and Rory Smith (36).

With his side’s first batting bonus point in the bank, Meschede chased an away swinger to be caught behind and give Kent debutant Grant Stewart his maiden first-class wicket.

Stewart, a 23-year-old Aussie-raised all-rounder, then had Lewis Carey caught at second slip leaving Imran Qayyum to polish off the innings by having Smith caught at slip after a miscued and off-balance attempt to reverse sweep.

Haggett was the pick of the Kent attack with three for 40 while Milne, Stevens and Stewart bagged two apiece, but gritty Glamorgan were the happier side having cut the home advantage to only 73.

Kent’s second-day hero Adam Rouse revealed he was playing golf at the nearby Scotland Hills course in Canterbury when he received the call to replace Sam Billings:

“I was on the golf course with Ivan Thomas and about half-an-hour later I was walking out to bat here. I had a couple of missed calls, then Matt Walker finally got hold of me to say Sam was going up to London and could I get down to the ground ASAP.

“We were on the far side of the golf course unfortunately and we were two down when I got here. I got my pads on and had to jump in more or less straight away. There was no time to think about things, which is probably a good thing.

“It was a win-win position for really if I could get a counter-attack going with Stevo and thankfully that’s how it worked out. It’s been one of the most bizarre days I’ve ever had because I thought my season was over and done. To get the chance to come out to day was great fun.”

Glamorgan’s Michael Hogan was delighted at taking his 500th first-class wicket and reasonably pleased with his side’s match position. He said: “I’m very proud and happy to reach the 500 and pleased that it’s out us into a good position in the game.

“It was all a bit of a blur in the moment, thinking about what I was going to bowl and sticking to our plans. The key wicket for us was Joe Denly, who played outstanding in the first innings, so to get him with one flush on the shoe was great.

“I was in a good place and thought I’d give Northeast a bumper first up and he managed to glove it through to the keeper for the big 500 wicket.”

Hogan added: “I think it’s a new ball wicket and batting gets easier as the seam wears down. The game’s pretty even now and I was happy to get Darren Stevens out late on there because he can change a game in a session.

“We still need to get them out cheaply tomorrow and if they get away to score another 100 runs in might be a little bit tricky for us to chase that many.”


 
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