Kent take early advantage on rain hit day
Kent made the most of bowler-friendly conditions on a rain-shortened first day to seize the early advantage against Lancashire in this LV= County Championship match.
Only 34 overs and two balls were bowled but in that time the visitors struck four times to have Lancashire on 112-4 before rain and bad light ended proceedings early with nearly 16 overs remaining.
It was Kent’s overseas quick Navdeep Saini who did most of the damage taking three for 45 from the Brian Statham End including two wickets in two balls just after tea.
Lancashire’s batters fought hard in conditions with Luke Wells top-scoring with 35 before receiving a near unplayable delivery from the India paceman and Josh Bohannon contributing a fluent 27.
The Red Rose made two changes from the team that won at Northampton last week with George Lavelle taking over behind the stumps from the injured Dane Vilas (fractured finger) and Jack Morley replacing Matt Parkinson.
Kent also made two changes from the team that defeated Warwickshire with Grant Stewart and Nathan Gilchrist replacing Matt Milnes and Matt Quinn.
Keaton Jennings and Wells made a steady start in tricky conditions against the international pace duo of Matt Henry and Navdeep Saini after being put in to bat, incredibly the tenth time Lancashire have lost the toss in their 11 Championship games.
Both bowlers found early movement on a wicket that had been covered for most of the previous two days but their only reward came when Jennings edged a pitched up Saini delivery to Zak Crawley at second slip to depart for 14.
Josh Bohannon combined well with Wells as the Red Rose pair took a positive approach, Bohannon cutting Grant Stewart for four off the back foot a particular highlight.
But after Bohannon had drilled Nathan Gilchrist through extra cover for four in reaching a fluent 27, the bowler hit back with the next ball finding an edge that was brilliantly caught low down at wide fourth slip by Jack Leaning.
That left Lancashire on 68-2 just before tea and Wells and stand-in skipper Steven Croft had pushed on watchfully after the resumption to take the total on to 97 before two wickets fell in two balls.
It was Saini who did the damage producing a rearing delivery to Wells that the left hand opener could do little against, the ball flying off the edge to Leaning at gully as he departed for a pretty decent 35 given the conditions.
And it got worse for the Red Rose when Saini’s next delivery nipped back to pin Rob Jones lbw.
Croft and Washington Sundar, playing at Emirates Old Trafford for the first time, negotiated a further six overs and two balls before rain and bad light brought an early end.
“It was hard work,” admitted Luke Wells. “We would have bowled first too given the overhead conditions.
“It’s quite a slow wicket and because it’s a used wicket the odd ball does misbehave a bit. The odd ball bounced too and there was seam movement,” he added.
“So there’s enough there for the bowlers. We’ve got to bear that in mind when it’s our turn to bowl.
“Try and keep the scoring rate as low as possible because there’s definitely a ball in that surface (that will get you out) and hopefully it will spin as well.
“I think they had the best of the conditions today; the overhead conditions plus the breaks (in play) refreshed their bowlers.
“They’ve come into this game with four frontline seamers and no real frontline spinners. So the ideal plan is to get those bowlers to come back for second, third and fourth spells and get them tired. Try and get the part-time spinners on and cash in.
“To be fair I thought they bowled pretty well in patches but we still scored at a reasonable rate which was encouraging. Crofty and Sundar looked really good out there so if we can get up to 300 we would be happy with that."
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