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Kent v Hampshire

Reports from the Electronic Telegraph

5-7 August 1998

Day 1: Headley heads revival

By Christopher Lyles at Canterbury

First day of four: Kent 391 v Hants

DEAN HEADLEY led an astonishing fightback by Kent yesterday after they had been reduced to 172 for seven by Hampshire on an easy-paced Canterbury pitch.

Headley hit his first half-century for two seasons and had put on 123 in 26 overs for the last wicket with Min Patel when he was caught behind for 81 in the last over of the day. In all, the last three wickets added 219 runs and Kent will now be optimistic of gaining a first-innings lead, an unlikely prospect yesterday afternoon.

Headley received distinguished support from Matthew Fleming, who scored his first half-century of the season, and Patel, whose unbeaten 58 was a career best, but Hampshire did not help themselves either. They conceded 54 extras, more than in any innings since 1883 and their bowlers, having acquitted themselves so well earlier on, gave the Kent lower order far too much width.

Headley and Patel took advantage in combative fashion, with cutting and driving of the highest order. Needless to say it delighted a St Laurence Ground crowd who have been largely starved of such pleasures this season.

Alex Morris, the pony-tailed Yorkshireman who has taken 27 wickets in the last six matches, was the pick of the Hampshire attack, and he gained the prize wicket of Carl Hooper, who played all around a straight one when he seemed in prime form.

It was a day of rich entertainment and this was cricket as it should be: a glorious summer's day and a cooling breeze which at one stage caused the Panama hat of umpire Alan Jones to blow to the famous lime tree until it was adroitly fielded by Giles White running back from point.

Day 2: Marsh so ruthless as Kent take charge

By Christopher Lyles at Canterbury

Second day of four: Kent (391 & 86-3) lead Hampshire (173) by 304 runs

WHAT a difference a day makes. When Kent were struggling at 172 for seven on the first day, some feckless Hampshire bowling allowed the last three wickets to add more than 200 runs.

Yesterday an impressive Kent bowling performance, and some indeterminate Hampshire batting, precipitated a collapse in which the visitors lost their last seven wickets for only 30 runs.

Hampshire's capitulation on a true pitch taking a modicum of turn presented Kent with a first-innings lead of 218 runs, which they had increased to 304 by the close after Steve Marsh had declined to enforce the follow-on.

They lost three wickets in the process but David Fulton's disappointment at being dismissed cheaply will have been assuaged by the award of his county cap in the lunch interval.

Carl Hooper finished with an outstanding four for 14 from 14.4 overs, and Marsh, when he elected to go in again, would have been mindful of batting last on a turning pitch and also determined to bat Hampshire out of the game.

With the exception of Robin Smith, who passed 15,000 first-class runs for his county in a resolute innings of 72, Hampshire had little of substance.

Both Martin McCague and Dean Headley exploited the bounce in the pitch. McCague's dismissal of Dimitri Mascarenhas was a beauty. A couple past the nose were followed by a brisk one down ``the corridor of uncertainty'' which a static batsman could only touch behind.

Kent's dominant display gladdened another substantial Canterbury Week crowd, who were also celebrating Ladies' Day.

Day 3: Kent complete stylish victory

By Christopher Lyles at Canterbury

Third day of four: Kent (391 and 227) bt Hants (173 and 153) by 292 runs

ANOTHER limp batting display by Hampshire hastened Kent to a crushing 292-run victory inside three days. It was Kent's fifth win of the season and just about maintains their Championship aspirations, although they would probably have to win four, if not all, of their remaining five matches to entertain a chance of claiming the pennant.

Kent wobbled briefly in the morning when they lost three wickets in the first 10 overs, including that of Carl Hooper, who was beaten for pace by fellow West Indian Nixon McLean. But any Hampshire buoyancy rapidly disappeared as Matthew Fleming and Steve Marsh added 77 runs in 16 overs to take the lead past 400.

Marsh, who has had a lean spell with the bat recently, compiled an attractive 47 from 44 balls and after he was stumped in search of more quick runs, Martin McCague regaled the crowd.

He faced 16 balls, played two gargantuan air shots, was dropped three times and hit a four and two monumental sixes, one of which landed in the top tier of the Frank Woolley Stand to thunderous acclaim.

McCague's dismissal was an anti-climax as he tamely chipped the estimable Shaun Udal to Robin Smith at square leg and the innings concluded soon after when Min Patel was pinned in front on the stroke of lunch.

Hampshire were left with the task of scoring an unlikely 446 to win, or surviving for five sessions on a pitch that was taking an increasing amount of spin.

The visitors began their second innings as if they believed that survival was possible. Although John Stephenson perished early, Jason Laney looked intent on occupation of the crease, and was no doubt relieved to end a run of four successive second-innings ducks. He had made just 12 runs from 81 balls when he was third out but at least he showed some stomach for the fight.

Hooper, who had picked up only 17 wickets in 10 previous Championship matches, again caused all manner of problems as he found appreciable turn, finishing the match with eight wickets for just 43 runs. Apart from Smith's demise, stupendously caught by a diving Will House at point, he owed his other three wickets to catches close in.

McCague applied the coup de grace as he seized the last three wickets to conclude the match with seven thoroughly deserved victims. By any standards, it was an overwhelming victory.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 08 Aug1998 - 10:22