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Kent thrashed by Lancashire
Kent thrashed by Lancashire

Lancashire have routed Kent by an innings and 83 runs in their Vitality County Championship showdown at Canterbury.

The visitors bowled Kent out for 222 in their second innings, Will Williams taking three for 26 and Tom Bailey three for 36.

Charlie Stobo hit his highest first-class score of 64 but the hosts were all out after 30.2 overs on day four.

The result, against the only side who were below them in Division One before this round of fixtures, drastically increases Lancashire’s chances of avoiding the drop, while Kent remain anchored to the foot of the table.

It was an outcome that had looked almost inevitable ever since Kent lost a cluster of wickets midway through day one. The hosts were a shadow of the side who won convincingly at Old Trafford earlier this season, with six of the players who pulled off what remains their only red ball win of the season injured or unavailable.

They resumed on 143 for six and with a deficit of 162 not many observers were expecting them to take the game deep into the fourth day.

Beyers Swanepoel, batting with Tawanda Muyeye as his runner, was the first man to fall, cutting Tom Bailey to Jack Blatherwick for 26 in the fourth over of the morning, but Stobo and Matt Parkinson responded with an obdurate stand that took out 18.3 overs.

The sparse crowd meant the on-field chatter was amplified, especially, it seemed, when George Balderson bowled. During one over Lancashire’s fielders shouted: “Go on Baldie!” or variations thereof, a staggering 37 times, including 10 after a single delivery. No other bowler received this level of encouragement: Nathan Lyon’s next over was greeted with near silence.

The partnership broke when Parkinson, who’d joked on Tuesday night that he planned to block for 96 overs, abandoned his previous discipline. He tried an ill-advised pull shot against Lyon and although that was spilled by Bailey at backward square leg, he was out to the next ball he faced.

Stobo brought up his second first-class fifty in the next over when he drove Luke Wells for four, but after taking a single Parkinson was left with the strike and Wells pinned him lbw for seven.

Wells then had George Garrett caught at first slip by Keaton Jennings at first slip for five and the victory was sealed when Williams used the new ball to send Stobo’s off stump cartwheeling.

Lancashire’s Keaton Jennings said: “Any game you win by an innings I think firstly is brilliant but to win by an innings and nearly a hundred runs is even better so look, I thought the lads all the way through on a really good surface kept fighting and to get 20 wickets on that surface was top drawer.

“All in all it was close to, not a perfect performance, not any performance is perfect but it was as close to a really good performance as we’ve had all season.

(On choosing to bowl first) “I suppose it’s one of those when you bowl first, everything works out and everyone goes well done great call. If it doesn’t work out and they’re none down at lunch suddenly everybody wants to sort of cut your leg off. When we arrived it looked slightly green. I wouldn’t say it was a bowl-first and try and bowl them out for a hundred (wicket). It was more about trying to bowl them out for 300 on day one and then bat and bat properly. The wicket felt like it got better and better, we just bowled really well with that new ball second innings.

“It was huge (to bowl like that) especially after the start we’ve had. With bat and ball we’ve struggled for form and guys have struggled to compete, but the guys have kept coming and have shown up every day, faced some tough questions and they keep coming.

(Will Anderson play at Southport?) “Touch wood I think Jimbo will be available, which is awesome. He brings in a wealth of knowledge and a keen eagerness to come and play and compete. It’ll be brilliant if he’s one hundred percent ready to go, I don’t want to rush the goalie but it’d be brilliant to have him.

(On Lyon) “He’s been brilliant, he’s surprised me really with how competitive and how aware of every match situation he’s been. I’ve learned quite a bit in terms of managing spin to him and sort of what is possible. I think when you have a player of quality, personally, who goes out and outputs what he does it’s sensational, but the quality of bloke in and around the changing room … he’s been working wit the Kent spinners, he sat and had a ten-minute conversation with a young lad, I think his name was Ben and chatted all sorts, chatted about his game, chatted about the kid’s interests.

“It was amazing and that’s the kind of thing you don’t see. I know a lot of Aussies come here and cop it a bit but to see Nathan come here and really buy into everything that goes on around him has been absolutely amazing.

“It’s huge for the domestic game. He’s arguably the best off-spinner of all time, he plays in one of the best attacks and arguably holds it together at times. The quality he’s put into the dressing room has been fantastic, he’s bollocked a couple of the lads at the right time and pumped lads up at the right time, which is brilliant.”

Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “We were just second best in everything really. It’s a shame, it’s been happening before now. I don’t really have many words to describe it, but starting from day one, the ground staff did a good job with the wicket, there was a bit more in it for the seamers. It did a bit on day but yeah, we probably shouldn’t have ben bowled out for 240

“With the ball again we have a few injuries and I don’t want to keep going on about but it is a fact. I genuinely can’t fault the bowlers’ effort but it’s not good enough this division to be honest and the scoreboard shows this.

“We’ve got no Joe Denly, no Jack Leaning and obviously Zak’s not playing. If you take that out of any team it’s going to be different.

(On Stobo) “I’m glad there are some positives. He’s been brilliant, he was training with us for three or four weeks until he made his debut in the T20s and his attitude’s really stood out. He’s a very good cricketer as well, I don’t think people knew he could bat as well as he has so it’s great for us to have a good all-rounder going forwards and not just us on the pitch. He’s brought a lot of expertise and help.

“It’s always an honour (to be captain). I’ll keep my head up. The only way to fight is to fight and that’s what I am, we’ll keep going with what we have and I’ve got to make sure I stand up as well, score my runs and help the team, keep moving forward and get some positive results. It’s never easy, Jack’s had it before me and Sam’s had it before me when injuries start to pick up.

“We have, I shouldn’t say punched above our weight in Division One, but when you compare us to some of the other teams with countless resources it is different. That’s no excuse but we’ve been here before and it’s about fighting and being better as player. We’ll have to change a few things, which we will do, but it won’t be for the lack of trying.”