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Worcestershire pile on the runs
Worcestershire pile on the runs

Jason Holder and Matthew Waite both hit unbeaten centuries as Worcestershire built a daunting lead against Kent on day two of their Vitality County Championship match at Canterbury.

Joe Leach then took two early wickets to reduce Kent to 15 for two, before the hosts rallied to finish on 112 for two at stumps, a deficit of 506. Daniel Bell-Drummond and Jack Leaning were the not out batters on 54 and 43 respectively.

Earlier Holder was unbeaten on 123 while Waite made exactly 100 before the visitors declared on 618 for seven in their first innings, with Adam Hose contributing 90.

Joey Evison had Kent’s best bowling figures with three for 58, while Matt Parkinson again “took one for the team,” claiming three for 201 and bowling for 44.5 overs.

Worcestershire began day two on 308 for five and subjected Kent players and fans alike to two sessions of unremitting torture, offering hardly any chances on a wicket that looked like chipboard.

The breakthrough finally came in the 117th over. Evison initially had a shout for lbw against Hose turned down, but the next delivery hit him low on the pad in front of middle.

Rob Jones went for 37 when he swished at Parkinson and was caught by Bell-Drummond at first slip, but it was 424 for seven at lunch and Holder then wreaked havoc, undeterred by fields with as many as eight men on the boundary.

The only intrigue during a hopelessly one-sided afternoon session was how many landmarks Worcestershire would tick off before declaring.

Holder glanced Parkinson down the legside for two to reach his half-century and reached three figures with a single off Jack Leaning.

Waite was more measured, hitting just two boundaries on his way to fifty, but the second half of his innings was pyrotechnic. He smacked Parkinson over mid-on for six to reach 99, then scrambled a single to bring up three figures, at which point the visitors finally declared.

Kent’s reply got off to a grim start when Joe Leach removed Ben Compton with the fifth ball of the innings. Compton initially looked like he’d escaped after edging the ball to third slip, but Jones, having dropped the ball into his lap, then caught it with his legs.

Zak Crawley then recorded his fourth single-digit score in five innings when Leach had him caught down the leg side by a tumbling Gareth Roderick, but Bell-Drumond and Leaning responded with a partnership worth 97. Bell-Drummond reached 50 with a risky single off Brett D’Oliveira, but having seen off the new ball Kent batted sensibly and looked significantly happier at the end of the session than they had at the start.

(On the partnership)

Worcestershire’s Jason Holder said: “When we went out we pretty much on top of the game and trying to press home the advantage. I was happy that things flowed today. They were obviously pretty tired, they’d spent a long time in the field and the wicket was one where you could really cash in in terms of the pace of it. Hopefully tomorrow we can come in and get a few more poles.

“It was a lot of fun, batting with Waitie’s always fun. He’s one of those characters that really keeps you in the game, keeps you energised and keeps you going. We were under instructions to keep it going.

“What we’ve seen so far in the championship is that when you get one you can get two in quick succession and hopefully we can start well tomorrow. Obviously it’s really important that first hour. These two have put on a really good partnership, so we need to break that first up and try to get into them.”

Matthew Waite said: “It was lovely batting with Jason. We’ve struck up quite a nice relationship and it was nice to put on 225 out there and have a great time doing it. At the start I tried to give Jase the strike as much as I could and then sort of came into my own towards the back end a little bit.

“It’s going to be tough to force the result but I think we’re all up for the challenge and we’ll give it our all and see what we can do. Leachie got two with the new ball so we just need 18 bits of cricket over the next two days. We’ll give it our best and see what happens.

“A good plan will be just going at the stumps as much as we can just to keep every form of dismissal in the game and if one keeps low and sneaks through then happy days. We’ll maybe get inventive with the fields and just stick to the plan as best as we can.”

Kent’s Joey Evison said: “It was difficult. You can’t fault the boys’ effort on a really docile batting wicket essentially, but to show the fight after having 140 overs in the field, that partnership that’s still going strong has been really key for us. So we’ll come back stronger tomorrow, it’s obviously a very good batting wicket and they batted very well.

“Zak was a bit unlucky to get strangled down the leg side but having spent all that time in the field, that’s what they’re trying to do as a unit – bat for long periods of time and not give us time to prepare really.

“The plan this morning was to try and wrap things up quickly but it was nice wicket to bat on and they played exceptionally well. You can’t fault the seamers’ efforts and Parky bowled really well for the amount of time he did as well. We controlled the rate and that’s all you can ask when there’s not much happening for us seamers.

“I thought I bowled quite nicely. I just tried to be as patient as I can. We had defensive fields but I tried to bowl attackingly, keep the stumps in play and that worked quite well for me.”