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Kent dominate at Old Trafford
Kent dominate at Old Trafford

Nathan Gilchrist took a career-best six for 24 to deepen Lancashire’s current batting woes and help Kent take complete control of their Vitality County Championship match on a dramatic afternoon at Emirates Old Trafford. 

Replying to the visitors’ 261, Keaton Jennings’ side were bowled out for 92 in 30 overs, with both Gilchrist and Wes Agar, who bagged four for 35, making the most of cloudy conditions. 

Presented with the luxury of a 169-run first-innings lead, the Kent skipper, Daniel Bell-Drummond, chose to enforce the follow-on and his decision was justified as Lancashire lost three wickets for as many runs late in the day to finish on 119 for four, still 50 runs in arrears.     

In the 40 minutes’ play that had been possible before lunch, Kent resumed on 203 for seven and added 36 runs for the loss of Agar, who was bowled for 13 when he went back to a quicker delivery from Lyon that turned through the gate. 

The new ball was taken immediately after lunch and brought immediate dividends when Gilchrist was caught behind by Matty Hurst off Tom Bailey for 10, but Matthew Parkinson, who was playing his first innings at Emirates Old Trafford since he left Lancashire for Kent, ensured that his new team would collect a bonus point when he edged two runs through the slip cordon. 

That, however, was the extent of the last man’s modest heroics as he was caught behind for three two overs later, thus giving Will Williams his 200th wicket in first-class cricket.

Joey Evison ended the innings unbeaten on 71, his runs scored off 150 balls, ten of which he hit for four. The value of Evison’s 198-minute innings was soon apparent as Lancashire collapsed to 40 for seven in 17.4 overs.

Luke Wells was the first to go when he edged Agar to Jack Leaning and departed for 10 but the disintegration really gathered pace when the home side lost four wickets for five runs in ten balls. 

Josh Bohannon cover-drove Gilchrist for four but lost his middle stump next ball when he inside-edged an attempted pull into his wicket.

Next over, skipper Keaton Jennings nicked behind to Adam Finch for four when caught half-forward by Agar, who then trapped Tom Bruce lbw first ball. 

The tumble of wickets continued next over when George Bell nicked Gilchrist to Finch and the same bowler had George Balderson caught at slip by Denly for two to leave Lancashire in tatters.

The mayhem continued when Tom Hartley’s wild slash to a ball outside the off stump merely gave Zak Crawley his first catch and Gilchrist his fourth wicket. 

Lancashire’s disastrous afternoon continued when Tom Bailey was caught down the leg side off Agar for five but some defiance was shown by Hurst, who hit three fours and two sixes in an innings of 36 that took his side past 61, their lowest first-class score against Kent, which they made at Old Trafford in 1884. 

Hurst became Gilchrist’s fifth wicket when he pulled him straight to Zak Crawley at deep midwicket and the innings ended when Williams edged a ball from Gilchrist to give Finch his fourth catch. 

In their second innings, Wells and Jennings immediately took the attack to Kent’s new-ball attack. The fifty partnership came up in the ninth over and the aggression continued even after Wells had been caught at slip by Leaning off Gilchrist. 

Josh Bohannon helped his skipper add a further 51 before he was caught by Leaning off Evison for 31 when attempting a drive and Lancashire suffered another crucial blow when Jennings was brilliantly stumped by Finch off Parkinson for 40. Will Williams lasted only one ball before being bowled by Gilchrist for a single.           

Kent bowler, Nathan Gilchrist, said: “Obviously we’re very positive after today. We bowled in some really good conditions but as a group I thought we performed really well.”

“Wes Agar bowled really well and then my job was made quite easy. I just had to run in and keep things really simple. The ball was doing a fair bit and on days like these it’s really pleasing when the hard work paid off.”

“Following on was quite a simple decision because the conditions were still in our favour but we probably didn’t make the most of it  at the start of their second innings.”

“But getting our wickets has made it a lot easier going into the third day. I was a deep point when Adam Finch made his stumping and it was unreal.”

“It was great work from him and I’m not sure even he expected to make that stumping. It’s always nice to do well against your previous county and I think Matt Parkinson was enjoying being on top for most of today.”

“He’s always a good laugh in the field and it was nice to have him around today. Realistically I’m nowhere near my best considering I’ve only played five games in the last 18 months but days like today give you a lot of confidence going into the next few games.”

Lancashire captain, Keaton Jennings said: 

“That was a pretty tough day. They had some serious energy about them and were pretty good. We weren’t quite good enough.”

“Guys can always look at their decision making. You can always influence the way guys bowl at you and put pressure back on them. Even if you are just trying to survive, you can do it pro-actively. It’s for each individual to look at their own game and how they want to go about it.”

“We saw Hursty went about it completely different to everyone else and he got the top score of the innings. Second innings we went about our work in a slightly different fashion, but we probably shouldn’t be four down.”

“It’s incredibly annoying. Wellsy and I said if we can be there tonight, it will change the entire flow of the game. The same when Josh was there. We both got out so you continue to hamper your progress in the game.”

“I would ask the people supporting us to get behind the lads. There are some very young lads in that changing room with not a wealth of experience behind them and I want them to feel backed and supported.”

“The guys will talk tonight and hopefully with two lads who have first-class hundreds behind them and a few lads who have the opportunity to get a first-class hundred on their CB so it could be an exciting day tomorrow.”

“We’re looking at it very optimistically and let’s come in tomorrow with fresh ambition. If we bat the day tomorrow you are suddenly two hundred ahead. The game looks entirely different then with two world class spinners and a really good seam attack.”