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Kent comfortably beaten at Canterbury
Kent comfortably beaten at Canterbury

Hampshire have routed Kent by an innings and 51 runs in their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Canterbury, after dismissing the hosts for 296 in their second innings on day four.

Kyle Abbott took five for 29, mopping up Kent’s tail with three wickets from four balls, while Felix Organ span his way to three for 63 as the visitors secured a maximum 24 points, while Kent managed just four.

Ben Compton and Jordan Cox had given Kent hope of a draw after batting through the morning session on day four, but they were out for 89 and 64 respectively after lunch.

Cox’s dismissal was particularly contentious as he was given caught off a delivery that seemed to hit his thigh, but having been outplayed for most of the match Kent could have few complaints about the final result.

Home hopes of avoiding a second consecutive defeat seemed to hinge largely on the County Championship’s leading run scorer Compton, who’d come within maybe 40 minutes of getting them out of a far tighter situation against Lancashire the previous Sunday.

He’d scored 37 of the hosts’ overnight tally of 78 for three, but they were still 269 behind when play resumed. Abbas found his edge when he was on 49, but the chance didn’t carry and he took a single from the next ball to reach his half-century.

Cox, on three overnight, played and missed at Barker when on 13 and a googly from Mason Crane somehow eluded his stumps and went for four byes, but otherwise he offered few chances and at lunch Kent were 161 for three, with the visiting bowlers getting increasingly frustrated.

Keith Barker broke through 15 minutes into the afternoon session when Compton was given out caught behind to a leg side delivery. Whether it was out of disappointment or anger, Compton was shaking his head as he trudged back to the pavilion and Ollie Robinson was out for nine in the next over. The skipper hit Organ for boundaries off the first two balls but edged the third to Ben Brown.

By now Organ was extracting some serious turn, but Darren Stevens brought up 200 for Kent when he swiped him for six and Cox hit Abbas through cow corner to pass fifty for the second time in the match.

Stevens should have been out when he hit a rank full toss from Mason Crane straight to Liam Dawson, but the fielder spilled the catch.

The game’s most controversial moment came when Cox was given out, caught at short leg by Joe Weatherley off Organ, to a ball that replays showed had initially hit him halfway up the thigh. Mohammad Abbas then accounted for Matt Milnes, who misjudged a pull shot and was caught by Weatherley for 13.

Hamid Qadri joined Stevens and survived till tea, at which point Kent were 287 for seven, but he fell to the third ball after the restart, edging Abbott behind for 11. Abbott’s next ball removed Nathan Gilchrist for a golden duck, caught by Weatherley at short leg.

Jackson Bird hit Abbott’s hat-trick ball for four but he was lbw to the next delivery, leaving Stevens unbeaten on 41 as Hampshire celebrated raucously on the pitch.

Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott said: “It was a pretty tough first session and starting to drag out there a bit, but we knew we were putting enough balls in the right area and it was a matter of time. As soon as we cracked open a fairly fragile middle-to-lower order we were in with a shot. It was great to come here, get the job done and come away with 24 points.”

(On three wickets in four balls)

“It was very weird, it almost felt like the over took about 20 minutes. When I look back at taking three for nine in one over it seems a little silly, but to be quite honest I had a bit of a sore body after tea. It’s quite a sapping pitch, it’s mentally sapping, there’s not much in there for the bowler, so every time you come in it’s a hundred percent or nothing. I was just a little bit off in the first couple of balls and obviously with the hat-trick ball I had to go for the stumps. The bowling coach tells me I don’t bowl enough bouncers. I say it takes too much out of me at times! The idea (for the bouncer to Gilchrist) came from Dawson. I managed to get it quite well directed and Joe took a great catch.”

“It was nice to get the job done. It was set up incredibly by the batters yesterday, to give the bowlers a full day off and get so far ahead. It’s great for us as a team, we’re pretty chuffed all round.”

Hampshire’s James Vince said: “Right the way from the start, having lost the toss on one of the flattest wickets in the last few years, to be able to bowl them out was a massive effort and every day we’ve done what we needed to do. It’s good batting conditions but you’ve still got to get them, so 650 really set the game up.”

“Today we knew it was going to be hard, but we had options with Felix and we didn’t expect to happen quite that quickly with that over from Abbo after tea, but I think we got rewards for a lot of hard work and persistence we showed over four days. He’s bowled really well and the last couple of games he’s maybe not got the wickets his bowling deserved, but he deserved that.”

Kent batting coach Ryan ten Doeschate said: “Hampshire are a strong bowling unit and I think we missed some key moments in the game, particularly being 233-3 on that first day. We needed to finish the day stronger than that, but then again I think we showed great fight today.”

“I thought the two guys who got stuck in and got runs were very unlucky to have their innings ended in both instances.”

“We’re certainly not in a bad place, I’ve looked at the metrics and we’ve batted 600 overs in the first three games which isn’t the recipe for losing two and drawing one, so I think there are a lot of positives to take.”

“The form of Ben Compton is very good and generally I’m very happy with the way the batters are going, but there’s definitely a bit of work to be done on both aspects of the game.”

“When you’re spending double the amount of time at the crease than the other team, you are going to get a few more bad decisions. It’s very frustrating, particularly for Ben, who’s been monumental at the start of this season, to have two innings ended in that fashion, but we don’t want to focus on the decisions.”

“He’s batted tremendously well and over time you are going to get decisions that go against you and you are just going to have to suck them up.”