Bell-Drummond leads Kent fightback
Bell-Drummond leads Kent fightback

A century from captain Daniel Bell-Drummond has given Kent a fighting chance of a draw against Lancashire, steering them to 209 for one in their second innings in their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Canterbury.  

The hosts still trail by 147 at the end of day three, but a heavy defeat had looked likely after they slumped to 169 all out in their first innings. Tom Bailey took four for 46 and Luke Wood three for 38 to give Lancashire a lead of 356, but after enforcing the follow on the visitors were frustrated for the final two sessions.  

Bell-Drummond hit 108 not out and Jordan Cox made 80 in a stand of 176 for the opening wicket that helped take the Group Three fixture to a fourth day. 

Kent were 85 for four overnight and their worst case scenario occurred when Bailey had Zak Crawley caught behind for 60 off the first ball of the day. 

They resisted well for the next hour, until the introduction of Matt Parkinson, who had Heino Kuhn caught by Rob Jones at square leg for 21 in his first over, after a miscued sweep. 

Darren Stevens was out for just one, having already been given a comical reprieve when he top-edged Parkinson to square leg. The ball was in the air for so long Stevens started walking, but he was dropped by Jones, making the fielder the most relieved man in the ground when he was lbw to Parkinson’s next ball. 

Bailey then removed Ollie Robinson and Fred Klaassen with successive balls, bowling the former for 21 and getting the latter caught by Keaton Jennings at first slip for a golden duck. The final ball of the session saw Miguel Cummins caught by Dane Vilas for 19, attempting to drive Josh Bohannon through extra cover, leaving Matt Milnes not out on 17.  

However, the contrast between morning and afternoon could hardly have been starker, as Bell-Drummond and Cox batted through to tea, scoring freely to reach 141 for nought despite constant and increasingly frantic appealing. 

The partnership lasted for over three hours until Parkinson had Cox caught by a diving Jones at cover but it was a fleeting success for Lancashire as Kent continued to resist. Bell-Drummond reached three figures with a single off a full toss from Parkinson and he was joined by Crawley, who was 13 not out at stumps.  

Kent captain Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “Obviously we were in a very tough situation in the game so I just wanted to lead from the front and get the guys off to a good start with Jordan and take it step-by-step. I was just very focused on what we’ve got to do and we’ve still got a long way to go but I’m just happy for myself and the team that I could make it through to the close unbeaten. Obviously they’re on top in the game but I think we did well in the afternoon and the evening. 

“The four wickets last night hurt us to be honest and we couldn’t get going this morning. We all hold our hands up, we weren’t good enough, especially me in the first innings. I don’t think the pitch has changed that much, a few balls misbehaved a tiny bit but it’s still for the most part a very flat wicket. There was a bit of spin for Parkinson, he’s a good bowler but I’m backing the boys tomorrow that we can get a draw.” 

Lancashire’s Luke Wells said: “It’s been a fantastic game for us so far. Yesterday exceeded expectations, it was an unbelievable day for us and this morning exceeded expectations, to take those wickets. Getting Crawley (so early) was a real bonus. We were prepared to tough it out for our wickets and that proved the case after that first session. 

“We’re still well up in the game, we need nine wickets tomorrow and we back ourselves. Hopefully we can get a couple early tomorrow and we’ve got 13 overs till the new ball, so it’s still in our favour.”