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Date: Tuesday 28 August 2012
Rob Taylor picked up a career best 4-77, including an important wicket in the last over, as Kent posted 322-6 on the opening day of the LV=CC game at Grace Road.
Despite the late loss, the visitors were entitled to be pleased with their day’s work after being invited to bat first. Captain Rob Key (68, 97b) and Sam Northeast (52, 96b) put on 110 for the first wicket to get the innings off to a good start.
Brendan Nash and Geraint Jones added 134 for the sixth wicket but Taylor dismissed the keeper for 52 with what proved to be the last ball of the day.
Nash could have been run out first ball but went on to make a fine unbeaten 108 that included many strokes square of the wicket. Taylor was the pick of the attack while Alex Wyatt claimed 2-44 from 16 overs.
Leicestershire made two changes from the side that beat Hampshire as Taylor and Jigar Naik came in for their LV=CC appearances of the season in place of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Nathan Buck. Matthew Hoggard won the toss and elected to field first but Kent got stuck in.
The match got underway at noon and Hoggard and Wyatt bowled well with the new ball. Runs were initially hard to come by but after 21 balls without scoring, Key and Northeast each drove through the leg-side to the fence.
The pair mixed careful defence with attack when the opportunity arose and Northeast punched through mid-wicket for four as Taylor entered the attack from the Pavilion End. Key hammered a pull to the ropes from Wayne White’s first delivery and Kent had settled to their task.
Key was fortunate to see an inside edge find the fence rather than his stumps as he gathered another four. The 50 came up as Northeast nicked through the cordon and the youngster then punished a no-ball by striking a boundary through mid-wicket.
Naik entered the attack to bowl the 18th over and Key made his intentions clear; from Naik's second ball, the batsman took a couple of paces down the track to hit a straight four. Northeast also got after the slow man as he swept and cut fours in Naik’s 4th over as the batsman closed in on 50.
Hoggard and Wyatt returned but Northeast registered his half-century and the Kent 100 from his 90th ball. Northeast hit seven fours along the way and his opening partner moved to his own half-century from 80 balls with a sixth four. This one came through mid-wicket and Leicestershire desperately needed a breakthrough.
It came on the stroke of lunch as Northeast touched a Wyatt leg-side delivery and Ned Eckersley took a superb one-handed catch. Key continued to play well and he glanced for four in taking 13 off the lunch over. The captain was unbeaten on 63 at lunch with his side on 123-1.
County took a big second wicket after the break as Taylor trapped Key lbw and Nash was nearly run out first ball as Josh Cobb pinged at the stumps from cover. The ball just missed the stumps at the bowler's end and the West Indies international cut his first four in the next over before going on to play with his usual diligence.
However, White and Taylor bowled well in tandem and the left armer picked two wickets in the space of three balls. Alex Blake nicked to Eckersley, the keeper taking another good diving catch, while Michael Powell was yorked. That left Kent on 158-4 former Fox Darren Stevens came to the crease.
Nash continued to look good square of the wicket as he punished a short ball and Stevens opened his boundary account by driving through mid-wicket. Nash then pulled the returning Wyatt to the fence while Stevens drove through extra cover to collect his second four.
The two had put 30 on when Stevens (18) edged Wyatt and Michael Thornely held on at the second attempt at first slip. It was a welcome wicket but Nash drove to the fence and Kent then moved to their first batting point in the 57th over.
Nash uppercut to the fence as he recorded a fifth boundary while Jones also dug in. Kent were 221-5 at tea and there were 24 overs left to bowl at that stage. It had been Leicestershire’s session but Kent dominated after the interval. Nash drove Naik for four to record a 97-ball half-century and the stand passed 50 in the 71st over.
Jones edged Naik past Thornely at slip for four while Nash pulled the returning Taylor for six over long leg. The score had now passed 250 and Nash drove down the ground to collect a 7th four. The left-hander then pulled a Naik full toss to the ropes before twice pulling Taylor for four as he moved into the nineties.
Nash swept Naik for four before cutting a three to bring up an excellent 142-ball hundred. The knock contained 11 fours and a six at that stage and the alliance was into three figures with the last of those fours. Hoggard and Wyatt returned with the new ball but Jones twice drove through mid-on and also twice cut away for further boundaries as he recorded a 91-ball fifty.
The third batting point was in the bag but Leicestershire claimed a second bowling point before the close. Jones became Taylor’s fourth victim – and Eckersley’s third catch – with what should have been the penultimate ball of the day to give Leicestershire a welcome late boost.