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Essex thrash Kent at Canterbury
Essex thrash Kent at Canterbury

Essex have routed Kent by an innings and 260 runs on day four of their LV=Insurance match with Essex at Canterbury. 

The visitors needed just 4.4 overs to claim the remaining two wickets on day four, bowling Kent out for 149. 

Sam Cook took 10 for 60 in the match, including seven for 33 in the second innings, while Jamie Porter claimed three for 50. 

Jordan Cox was Kent’s top scorer with 65, but the hosts are now deep in the relegation mire, having taken just a single point, while Essex claimed 23.  

Torrential rain delayed the start until 12.38pm, with Kent resuming on 137 for eight in their second innings, needing a notional 272 to make Essex bat again. 

In reality, with Milnes’ mobility drastically reduced due to a stress fracture in his back, Kent’s only hope of escaping with a draw was to bat for as long as possible and hope the rain returned. 

Milnes, in what may be his final act as a Kent player before he moves to Yorkshire next season, lasted three overs before getting a bottom edge to Cook that was taken by a tumbling Nick Browne.  

Although dark clouds were hovering, the rain stayed away and the victory was sealed when Cox edged Porter and fell to a juggling catch by Matt Critchley in the slips. 

Essex’s Tom Westley said: “Credit to Kent and the groundstaff, they’ve actually done an outstanding job getting the ground fit and ready to play. It was frustrating last night needing the two wickets and knowing there was some bad weather around today, but everything’s worked out for the best. 

“This year we’ve played some fantastic cricket, albeit sometimes with the bat, mainly with the ball, but we haven’t been able to piece together both disciplines as consistently as we’d have liked. I think this game shows that when we do that we can beat pretty much any team in the country. There were some outstanding performances, but I think for Feroze to get a big hundred was an outstanding effort. He probably wasn’t down to play this game because Paul is struggling with a shoulder injury but it just shows you have to take your opportunity when it comes in first-class cricket. I’ve been immensely impressed with him in the white ball game, especially in the 50-over competition and it’s pleasing he’s aggressively kicking on. 

“We could keep talking about Sammy Cook and I have done relentlessly, but he’s absolutely world class, I don’t think there’s a better seamer. The stats will back it up, he gets wickets in the first innings, the second innings, at Chelmsford and away from Chelmsford and he’s phenomenal. We’re very lucky to have him at Essex.” 

(On being the natural heir to James Andreson). “I’d echo that. I haven’t seen a seamer bowl better than him whenever we’ve played against any team. He’s improving year on year. When he started he probably was mid to late seventies, but the work he puts in in the winter, in the gym, he’s obviously maturing, he’s getting faster as well, so for me he ticks all the boxes and he can bat a bit as well. 

“Porter got those key wickets and had that key partnership as well. He may not have got the wickets he would have liked this year but he is Essex through and through, he’s always wanting the ball and he’ll run through a brick wall for the team. With someone like Ports it’s a matter of time before the luck goes his way and he starts getting the six-fors and seven-fors. 

“It’s not really possible to catch Surrey, but for us it’s about finishing as high as possible and then like in 2018, using the momentum to go on and win it like we did in 2019.” 

Kent’s Matt Walker said: “I don’t think we deserved the rain to save us really, we haven’t played well enough over three days and if you’re hoping for rain to save you, you know you’re in a pretty tough spot. We fought hard last night to try and drag it out till today where we knew the forecast was a bit indifferent, but we didn’t deserve to get anything out of this game. 

“The numbers are pretty stark. It was a good cricket wicket, there was a bit in it, it was a good toss to win and we didn’t make the most of those conditions early on. It wasn’t a terrible first session but we didn’t challenge them enough and they just showed us how to go about it and how to bowl on this wicket. It almost at times looked as if it was two different surfaces and that’s what happens when you do your basics well enough.  

“Their ability to bowl the ball in the right areas over and over again caused us a huge amount of problems and we didn’t deal with it well enough, so it’s not just the bowlers. It showed what you can do on what was a pretty good cricket wicket. It certainly wasn’t a 573 wicket and it wasn’t a 164 wicket. It was somewhere in between.” 

(On injuries and looking ahead to Hampshire) “It didn’t help losing Nathan Gilchrist on the morning of the game and then obviously Milnes and Billings who are certainly unlikely for the next game. As far as overseas players go, we could do with a body in the camp for the next game, but apart from that, everybody is available and we’ll have a big think after the Royal London final about what we need to do. Whoever the XI is we’ve got to go in there believing we can win that game. We’ve got the personnel but it’s about more than that, it’s about delivering what’s required and whoever is it that final XI hopefully will be absolutely on board for what we need for those four days.”