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Captain Sam Northeast says Kent are getting better

By Alex Hoad

Skipper Sam Northeast says Kent have taken their game to new heights this season but warned against complacency as they seek to start with a hat-trick of Championship wins.

For the second straight game, Kent produced a devastating second innings bowling display on their way to a 226-run drubbing of Sussex at Hove on Monday, having earned a 334-run home win over Gloucestershire in their Division 2 season opener.

Northeast himself enhanced his international claims with an unbeaten 173 on Sunday to give Kent a huge lead and he said: “We’ve been playing good cricket.

Sam Northeast. Picture: Chris Davey

“We played a lot of good cricket last year, too but we have gone up a notch and that’s pleasing.”

Northeast claimed there was little room for improvement, adding: “You’re never going to have a perfect game, you just try to get as close as you can. The way we are playing at the minute, it’s going to be tough to improve.

“Let’s make sure we’re not complacent going forward, keep doing all the same things, keep the energy high. Our training has been good – there’s not much more I can ask of the guys at the moment.

“There’s no doubt there are going to be tougher periods going forward where we will have to show character but at the moment we are playing some good cricket and looking forward.

“Sussex are a good team and for us to put on a display like that is encouraging. Confidence is high.”

Northeast lent his voice to the chorus of praise for Darren Stevens, whose 5-51 in the second innings steered Kent to a winning position, a week after his 6-22 had done the same at home to Gloucestershire on the final day.

Northeast said: “Darren bowled an unbelievable spell. He just keeps on doing it. He’s got fantastic ability with the ball.

“He doesn’t let you off, there are hardly any bad balls. People will probably say he’s not the quickest but he’s got unbelievable skill.”

Northeast hailed the impact of new head coach Matt Walker and interim assistant coach Jason Gillespie for their work with Kent’s attack, claiming: “What Walks and Gillespie have done with the bowlers especially has been encouraging.”

He added: “We needed early wickets and did that. After the first half an hour with the new ball, we were relentless – the boys put in an unbelievable effort.

“Our bowling attack has got some good variety. Claydon slams the wicket, the same with Coles, and then we have the left-arm variety with Wayne Parnell and the spin of James Tredwell. It’s a nice attack for me to call on.”

James Harris is in contention for a recall against Derbyshire (Friday, 11am).

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