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Kent facing uphill Oval battle
Kent facing uphill Oval battle

Sam Curran made his maiden first-class hundred as first division leaders Surrey continued to dominate Kent on the second day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at the Kia Oval.

For only the second time in their history, four batsmen made centuries in the same Championship innings as Surrey piled up 673 for seven with Will Jacks making an undefeated 103 to add to the first-day hundreds by Ben Geddes and Hashim Amla.

Surrey’s total was a new record against Kent and only two runs more than they made at Beckenham in May when seven of their batters scored fifties – but no one made a hundred.

Curran then picked up Ben Compton in the fourth over of Kent’s reply and they also lost Joe Denly before Daniel Bell-Drummond and skipper Jack Leaning fought back either side of a 90-minute rain delay which took 17 overs out of the day’s allocation.

Bell-Drummond reached fifty for the second successive match as Kent closed on 147 for two, still 526 runs behind.

Earlier, Surrey had continued to dominate an understrength Kent attack with Curran and Will Jacks to the fore. They plundered 190 runs in 26.2 overs during a morning session interrupted by a 20-minute rain delay before Surrey declared 20 minutes after lunch after Jacks on-drove Raj Singh for successive boundaries to bring up his hundred.

Curran had previously scored 29 fifties without converting any of them into a century but he never looked like missing out against a weakened Kent attack who conceded 5.2 runs an over before their suffering ended.

None of their seamers offered sufficient control and Curran did much as he pleased. He reached his century with a straight hit off George Linde which brought him one of his five sixes. He also struck 15 fours in his 126 off 75 balls before slicing a drive to backward point off Linde.

Curran’s sixth-wicket stand of 133 with Jacks came in just 16 overs as Surrey cruised along at 8.2 runs an over before lunch. Leaning brought himself into the attack – the eighth bowler he employed – and picked up Gus Atkinson, who drove to deep mid-off, but Jacks needed only 92 balls for his century, which included 18 boundaries. It was the third time this season that Kent have conceded more than 600 in the first innings and five of their bowlers went for more than 100 runs.

Curran was soon in the action with the ball, striking in his second over when Ben Compton played on as Curran surprised him with extra bounce.

Joe Denly, making his way back after injury, was bowled through the gate to give Dan Worrall reward for a testing new-ball spell and leave Kent 55 for two.

But after the rain delay Bell-Drummond and Leaning dug in. Curran, whose first five-over spell went for 17, bowled four more overs in the evening session but on a good pitch Surrey’s bowlers will have to work hard over the remaining two days to chalk up their fifth win of the season.

Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran, who scored his maiden first-class hundred, said: “I’ve missed out on that first hundred a few times so it was really pleasing to get that monkey off my back, a really special moment. It is a nice thing to tick off but the most important thing is that the team is in a good place. 

“The position was set up for us to bat really well. I said to myself ‘try and get it in one hit rather than hitting singles for ten minutes’ and I managed to do that. Those moments are what you put the hard yards in during the winter for. 

“It’s a really good pitch but we’ve got the bowling attack to take 18 wickets in six sessions if we keep putting the ball consistently in the right areas”

Kent fast bowler Toby Pettman said, “It was a tough first four and a bit sessions in the field for us but it was important to get through to the close only two down, Dan [Bell-Drummond] and Jack [Leaning] played great. 

“The first 30 overs are so important because you have to see off that new ball. If we can get a good start tomorrow there’s no reason why we can’t bat as well as Surrey did. It’s a pretty good pitch.” 

Picture supplied by Keith Gillard.