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Kent easily beaten by Surrey
Kent easily beaten by Surrey

Surrey have beaten Kent by an innings and 37 runs in the Vitality County Championship at Canterbury.

The reigning champions dismissed the hosts for 262 in their second innings, with Dan Worrall taking four for 31 and Cameron Steel, claiming three for 38. Steel remains the leading wicket taker in the country this season, with 20 after three matches.

Joey Evison made 53 and Matt Parkinson hit his highest first-class score of 39, but after a dogged rearguard action that saw them through the morning session, Kent subsided midway through the afternoon.

The hosts were 120 for five overnight, still 179 runs in arrears, and their slim hopes of batting out the day were dealt a near fatal blow when Ben Compton was out in the fifth over of the morning. Compton, unbeaten on eight overnight, chased a Worrall delivery that veered away and was caught behind.

The home crowd, however, were pleasantly surprised by the way Evison and Parkinson survived the rest of the morning. Parkinson, promoted up the order to number eight, had spent the winter working on his batting as part of a concerted effort to shore up Kent’s lower order and although there were a few alarms by lunch Kent had reached 203 for six at lunch and the impossible now seemed merely improbable.

Evison, however, fell to Tom Lawes in the afternoon’s third over. He cut Lawes for fours off successive boundaries to reach his half-century but then edged him behind.

With Evison gone, Kent crumbled. George Garrett was lbw to Steel for four and Jas Singh went for a duck when Jamie Smith took a brilliant catch at short leg off the same bowler.

Number 11 Arafat Bhuiyan had some fun with the new ball, flicking three consecutive balls from Kemar Roach for a six and two fours on his way to his highest championship score of 22 not out, making him the fourth Kent tail-ender to reach that personal landmark in this match, after Garrett and Singh hit their career-best scores in the first innings.

This merely delayed Surrey’s celebrations however and an emphatic victory was sealed when Smith took another exceptional close catch to snare Parkinson off Kemar Roach.

Surrey take 24 points and Kent two.

Surrey’s Rory Burns said: “It’s a max win and one that we’re pretty pleased with on a pretty flat surface. It’s difficult with the wind and rain and some of the conditions we were presented with early to stay together as a team out there but I think the guys and they way they led with the ball, some of the partnerships we put together in that first innings in particular, to bowl them out for under 250 was a really good effort.

“It’s brilliant, isn’t it. People put their hands up at various opportunities at various different points. We’ve very happy with a win on a very flat surface.”

(On Kent’s resistance today)

“We always knew that was going to be the way, we knew there was stil a lot of hard work to do. The fact that we had them five down overnight was probably a very good thing because we knew it was a pretty benign surface so we knew that period was going to be a little bit tricky and we’ve given ourselves a second bite of the cherry with that new ball there just to finish it off.”

“It’s nice to see Sibley in some really good form and I’ve been in decent touch myself so as a partnership we’re popping off each other quite nicely at the minute. We obviously can take confidence from this.”

Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “The lads fought really well throughout the day. Obviously it wasn’t meant to be but Parkinson played really well and Evison kept his fine form going so there were some silver linings in what was a quite disappointing week. That’s one thing this team will, well keep fighting to the end.

“Unfortunately the loss happened in the previous three days, which made it unlikely we were going to get through this day but like I say, I’m proud of the guys’ fight. I think looking back we probably left a few runs out there in that first innings. It was a decent toss to win from Surrey’s point of view but yeah, we would have liked to have get more runs and that would have set up the game completely differently.

“But they showed their class. Worrall’s bowled well all game and it wasn’t meant to be. We need to look at ourselves as a group and come back stronger. It’ been a tricky start. We got two draws first up and the lost this.

“We’ve had a few, well a lot of bowlers injured and you need 20 wickets to win games. Unfortunately we’ve been quite unlucky in that respect but there have been some positives signs for sure, George Garrett has come in and done really well as a new signing and we had Jayden Denly play really nicely against Essex. With the injuries there have been some opportunities and some of the guys have really stepped up.

“I think it’s good, there’ll be competition for places going forwards and hopefully we can get the bowlers back as soon as possible. We’ve got another overseas player (Bayers Swanepoel) coming in a game or two so hopefully things will change going forwards.

“It’s been a tricky start. It was half-expected with the nature of things, but yes, we need to improve and we will improve.”