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Kent facing heavy Surrey defeat
Kent facing heavy Surrey defeat

Surrey are closing in on an emphatic victory against Kent in the Vitality County Championship at Canterbury, after reducing the hosts to 120 for five in their second innings, a deficit of 179.

Dan Worrall took three for 18 as the champions rattled through Kent’s top order after declaring on 543 for seven.

Matt Parkinson took five wickets for Kent, but they came at a cost of 177 runs, as Surrey hit out during a punishing afternoon session for the home side, to take a first innings lead of 299, Dom Sibley making 150, Dan Lawrence 112 and Jamie Smith a quickfire 58.

Ben Compton and Joey Evison were not out on eight and seven respectively at stumps, but with the forecast for clear skies tomorrow Kent will need something close to a miracle to escape with a draw on day four.

For a third successive day this game was played out in a bone-chilling northerly wind and it went as almost everyone in the ground knew it would, with the champions making unmolested progress through the first hour.

The landmarks ticked by. Sibley glanced Jas Singh for four through square leg to reach three figures and Dan Lawrence tickled the same bowler for a single to reach his 50.

Sibley then flicked Evison for four to put Surrey into the lead and Lawrence drove Jack Leaning through the covers to bring up his century.

Kent opted not to take the new ball after 80 overs and Matt Parkinson vindicated the decision when he bowled Lawrence with the very next delivery.

The afternoon session was significantly livelier. Sibley had just reached his 150 when he was given out caught and bowled by Parkinson after the umpires checked the ball had carried.

Ben Foakes then made a rapid 24 from 20 balls but he was caught behind slashing at George Garrett.

Jamie Smith was on 37 when he hooked Jas Singh to square leg, but the sub fielder Fred Klaassen couldn’t haul in the catch.

Smith responded with a six off Parkinson that flew on to the upper balcony of the Cowdrey stand and he reached 50 when he swept the next delivery for a single, but he fell in Parkinson’s next over, the 99th, caught at long on by Arafat Bhuiyan.

Parkinson got his fourth wicket when Ryan Patel drove him to Garrett at midwicket for 30 and despite the grim match situation he till let out a scream of delight when Jordan Clark hit him to Joe Denly at the midwicket boundary, giving him his first five-wicket haul for Kent.

Surrey finally declared at tea and with Ben Compton off the field due to a sore neck, Harry Finch opened the batting alongside Zak Crawley.

The England opener contributed just four before he edged Worrall behind to become Foakes’ 300th first class victim for Surrey.

Worrall then sent Daniel Bell-Drummond’s middle-stump flying for 10 and Finch went for an entertaining but brief 24 when he was lbw to Jordan Clark.

Joe Denly made 38 but then prodded Cameron Steel to Smith at mid-wicket, before Worrall had Jack Leaning caught at slip by Sibley for 24.

There were ironic cheers when Compton got off the mark after 30 balls, but if anyone can thwart Surrey on the final day it’s a man who values his wicket this dearly.

Surrey’s Dom Sibley said: “I feel like everyone’s contributed so far. It’s been a good performance and hopefully we can get over the line tomorrow.

(On his start to the season) “It’s been good, I would have taken it if I’d been offered it in pre-season. I’m pleased with the way I’m playing, pleased with the way the partnership’s going with Burnsie up the top and I’m pleased to just be spending a bit of time out in the middle and enjoying it.

(On an England call-up) “Honestly I’m just trying to enjoy my cricket and play well for Surrey. I’m just trying to consistently enjoy my cricket and I don’t really think about that sort of stuff. I’m just trying to help Surrey win games of cricket.

“I’ve always felt like I’ve got the shots. At times my technique has let me down and I’ve spent a lot of time in my career playing with a fear of failure which has not been particularly enjoyable at times, especially when opening the batting.

“I had quite a long break in the winter, I didn’t play cricket for a long time and I just wanted to enjoy it a bit more, be a bit more positive and come out with a bit more freedom. I’m glad that it’s worked a little bit and hopefully throughout the summer it can continue.

“If the bowlers bowl well you have to respect that but if they miss you can be ruthless. I think we bowled pretty well in the evening, attacked the stumps a lot, kept the stumps in play with a bit of variable bounce and we got our rewards.”

Kent’s Matt Parkinson said: “Obviously Surrey are a great side. It all stemmed from day one really, we probably could have posted ore than 240, but that said I thought the lads bowled all right. I thought we stuck at it quite well, it’s obviously a flat pitch and we had a few injures as well so to have a fairly young seam attack I thought the boys tried hard. It was a tough day, yeah.

“I wouldn’t say it was nice (to get his first five wicket haul for Kent) after today. It was more bittersweet. I think it’s been coming out nice all season, it’s just we’ve never been in a position to push the game forward in the first three games. We’ve been on the back foot so it was nice to get five wickets but it was a tough day as well.

“The opening bowlers for Surrey, Worrall and Roach are class aren’t they? They probably showed our young lads how to bowl on there really. They bowled well and when you’re trailing by 300 and you’ve got a sticky 20 over session it’s never fun.”

(On settling in Kent) “I’m loving but it’s cold isn’t it? I was promised warm weather when I signed the contract, I may have to speak to Paul (Downton) about that but it’s a fantastic group. It’s very different to Lancashire and I’ve loved it. I fell valued, I fell my opinions are valued.

“It is a (young group). That was one of the pulls to come here. I felt Lancashire was an old group I guess and you never quite felt that your voice is heard as much. Obviously here it’s a very young squad and even some of the boys that are older haven’t played a great deal so I guess it’s up to myself and Deebs, Jack Leaning, Joe Denly and Zak when he’s around to help the young lads.”