Klaassen admits honours even
Klaassen admits honours even

Kent bowler Fred Klaassen admitted day one of the Spitfires’ County Championship game against Lancashire was “pretty even”.

Lancashire closed day one on 260/7 after recovering from 86/4, but the game ebbed and flowed throughout the day.

Matt Milnes struck early with the new ball for Kent before Lancashire found themselves in trouble four down, but a 102-run partnership between Josh Bohannon and Dane Vilas steadied things for Lancashire. Kent fired back late on, however, to leave the game in the balance after the first day’s play.

“It was 50/50” said Klaassen, speaking at the close of play. “But it would have been nice to have bowled them out.

“We bowled pretty well to only get a couple of wickets in that first session, and we felt we were in it the whole game. Seven is a decent effort but hopefully we will finish them off tomorrow morning early.”

Kent improved their control at the start of their bowling innings after leaking early runs in their opening two games of the tournament. When Keaton Jennings fell after 18.2 overs, the visitors were just 30/2.

Klaassen admitted it is something that has been worked on: “We resorted back to what we know; top of off and stay there. Dot ball pressure will bring the wickets. We are not trying to invent the wheel, just trying to find the consistency and go from there.

“We bowled pretty tight the whole day, led by Milnes and Stevens. They bowled a lot of maidens and I feel we are in a good position, especially if we come out tomorrow and get quick wickets.

“They set it up nicely for me and Cummins to come on first change. We probably did let ourselves down a little bit first session in the past two games, but I thought they bowled extremely well today. We could have had them four or five down at lunch, but it does not always go your way.”

Kent were left frustrated during Bohannon and Vilas’ partnership, but Klaassen claimed they always felt a wicket was around the corner.

“They had two good batters out there and the only thing you can do in four-day cricket is keep that pressure on. The whole time we felt we were in it and the wicket was just around the corner. 

“Bohannon did well but never really got away from us. His strike rate was never really that high and I thought we bowled well to him.

“It is the same old story – the dot ball pressure brings wickets and that is why I think we had a pretty positive day. We could easily have bowled them out but seven down I will take.

“The spinners bowled quite well – I thought Jack (Leaning) and Joe (Denly) looked pretty threatening to be fair and that is day one. They have a left-armer too which will create a few foot holes for the right-handers but carry and bounce is always good to see as a seamer – you like to see it hit the gloves hard so hopefully it holds up for the four days.”

Klaassen is playing his first game of the season for Kent, which has perhaps come around due to injuries to fellow seamers Harry Podmore, Tim Groenewald and Grant Stewart.

He isn’t willing to pass up the opportunity, and took the key wicket of Vilas when he was on 53 and scoring quickly.

“I felt good” said the left-armer. “I am always trying to push my case for the red ball team. It does not get any easier – the boys keep showing up. 

“We have a great bowling line-up, but you have to take your opportunity when you get it. Unfortunately we have had a couple of injuries, but from a selfish point of view that has provided me with an opportunity to get a game or two under my belt, which is good for me.

“It is going to leave a big hole, losing Podders, Grant and Timmy G, but we have a very competitive bowling line-up and that is what Kent have built their bowlers on – if one goes down, another can step in and hold the fort.

“I was having a look around the grounds and the lefties have taken a few poles which is always good for us I suppose! Adding that other option over or around the wicket poses a slightly different threat.

“I am working very hard behind the scenes to try and push my case to get into the team and as I said I have a bit of an opportunity now, so it is really exciting.”

The plan now is to take the remaining three wickets early on day two and get some rest.

“We want to take those three wickets as quick as possible” said Klaassen. “The first hour would be lovely, and then bat for an hour before lunch and the bowlers can put their feet up.

“It is always good to get a wicket. Hopefully I can get a couple more to finish them off, would be ideal.”