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Bell-Drummond stars in short day
Bell-Drummond stars in short day

Daniel Bell-Drummond hit an elegant 70 as Kent reached 113 for three on day one of their Vitality County Championship with Surrey at Canterbury.

The in-form Kent skipper put on a stand of exactly 100 for the third wicket with Jack Leaning, who was 30 not out at stumps, after rain wiped out all but 11 balls of the first two sessions at the Spitfire Ground.

Dan Worrall took two for 33 to reduce Kent to eight for two in the sixth over, but Surrey went 30 overs without a wicket before Tom Lawes broke the partnership when he had Bell-Drummond lbw shortly before the close.

The Kent and England legend Derek Underwood, who passed away on Monday aged 78, was honoured before the start of play, with both sets of players standing in front of the Underwood & Knott stand for a minute’s silence. Black armbands were worn and a moment was also taken to remember Raman Subba Row of Surrey, who died on Wednesday at the age of 92.

It was a bitterly cold day for the die-hards at the St. Lawrence and the weather wiped out 57 overs before conditions finally improved, or at least got less damp, late in the afternoon.

The visitors, who had do without Jamie Overton due to a back injury, won the toss and chose to bowl, but the start had already been delayed until 1.25pm and they managed just 11 deliveries before bad light forced them off again, the wind at that point being too strong for the floodlights to be used.

When play eventually resumed at 4.15pm, Surrey struck early. Zak Crawley’s first Kent appearance of the season saw him make just five before Worrall had him caught by Jamie Smith at third slip and in his next over he trapped Ben Compton lbw for three.

The partnership Kent urgently needed came when Jack Leaning joined Bell-Drummond and they batted the home side into calmer waters.

Bell-Drummond, who already has two centuries this season, punched Worrall for four through cover to bring up his 50, but he fell in the third last over of the day when he was trapped leg before by Lawes. Night-watcher George Garrett was unbeaten on one at stumps.

Kent’s Jack Leaning said: “I think it was probably just our day to be honest. Certainly if we’d not lost Deebs (Daniel Bell-Drummond) towards the end we’d have been on top. With the pitch being under the covers, the rain and them winning the toss, to be 111 for three I think we’d have probably taken that.

“It was hard work. They’re a brilliant side and they’ve obviously got the Dukes back in their hands so there’s a bit more movement out there off the pitch and in the air, but me and Deebs have had some nice partnerships in the past so it was nice to have a century partnership.

“He’s class, isn’t he? He’s show it already this year, he’s taken to the captaincy and has a mentality where he leads from the front. He’s a great captain and the way he’s started the season has been brilliant for us.

“I’ve not had quite the start I wanted in the first couple of games so it was just nice to spend a bit of time in the middle and find that game rhythm again. I started to find that towards the end, and find my balance. Hopefully it’ll be there in the morning and we can get a nice big score.

(On resting Agar and Gilchrist) “They’re obviously quick bowlers and we need to look after their workload. Unfortunately that was the question mark for this morning. Do we play them for one extra game? They’ve both got a couple of little niggles so it was about time to give them a rest and hopefully they’ll be fit for Lancs in a couple of weeks.”

(Did Bell-Drummond hit the ball that got him out lbw?)

“No he didn’t, I wish he had! It looked pretty good to be honest. You generally know what’s pretty close.”