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Kent fight back at Canterbury
Kent fight back at Canterbury

Kent fought back on day two of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Gloucestershire, reaching 232 for three at stumps, a deficit of 206.  

In a contest so far dominated by the bat, Daniel Bell-Drummond made 89 and Ben Compton 80, leaving Kent needing another 57 to avoid following on against their Division One relegation rivals, with Jack Leaning and Jordan Cox unbeaten on 24 and 21 respectively at stumps.  

Bottom-of-the-table Gloucestershire were earlier dismissed for 438, having added 50 to their overnight score, Ollie Price going for 51 and Zafar Gohar 49, while Matt Milnes finished with four for 93. 

In front of a crowd swelled by 960 children, attending as part of the Schools Day Out initiative, Gloucestershire resumed on 388 for seven, and although they lost Ollie Price early when he was caught hooking Milnes to Jack Leaning at square leg, Gohar took them past the 400 mark, before falling one run short of his half-century when he edged Jacob Duffy behind. 

Sam Billings then took a smart, diving catch off Grant Stewart to dismiss Zak Chappell for nine and wrap up the innings. 

Chappell struck an early blow when he bowled Ollie Robinson’s off-stump for three, but Compton dropped anchor, batting through the afternoon session while Bell-Drummond scored more freely at the other end, glancing Zafar for a single to reach his 50. 

Well over an hour later Compton nudged Phillips to point for a single to reach the same landmark in the final over before tea, at which point Kent were 151 for one. 

Cabin fever seemed to set in. When an appeal for caught behind off Compton was turned down, Gohar collapsed so theatrically that the entire ground, including his fielders, burst into laughter. 

The partnership was finally broken when Bell-Drummond was caught behind off Ryan Higgins, while Compton’s eventual departure was the latest in a string of luckless dismissals. Attempting to reverse sweep Gohar, the kneeling Compton hit the ball into the ground, with replays suggesting it either bounced up off his pad or off the wicket before it was caught by Glenn Phillips, but Cox and Leaning ensured there were no further alarms. 

Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “It was a good day for us, it was good to get them out quite early on, the bowlers did a good job and I think we got off to a good start with the bat. The game’s still in the balance, I think Gloucester battled hard in the field and were very competitive, but I think we’re pretty happy with the way things are right now. 

“We need to deal with the second new ball, I think that’ll be a key period in the game and then we’ll try and push on from there. We’ve been in these positions before this year and sometimes we haven’t taken advantage, so first and foremost see off the second new ball and then look to go past them. 

“I really enjoy batting with Ben, he’s awesome to bat with and he’s had an unbelievable year so far. I’m always learning lots off him and everyone loves him in the changing room, for obvious reasons. He’s really great to bat with and we compliment each other well. 

“I was watching from the balcony but couldn’t really tell what happened with his dismissal as the slip was in front of my view, but he did say when he came in that he wasn’t sure what happened and it was a bit inconclusive. It seems to be the only way he can get out, in strange ways! He’s been pretty immovable this year, so something freakish was the only way he was going to get out.” 

Gloucestershire’s Zak Chappell said: “It was hard graft, which is fine in county championship cricket. The pitch didn’t offer a huge amount to the seamers and obviously bowling well with the new ball is important, but there was a bit of spin later on, which is encouraging. 

“Hopefully we can extract something out of the new ball. If we can pick up one or two they’re five down and then the tail against spin will obviously be important, but we don’t want to look too far ahead, we’ll try and use the new ball as best as we can tomorrow.” 

(On Compton) “I lived with Compo last year at Notts and I got him out a lot in the kitchen, but I really struggled in the game, the same plans don’t work! Credit to him, he’s playing really nicely and he’s a nice lad so he deserves it.”