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Kent coach Jimmy Adams paid tribute to Daniel Bell-Drummond after Kent draw rain-affected LV= County Championship Division 2 clash with Essex

By Alex Hoad

Jimmy Adams paid tribute to Daniel Bell-Drummond who stood firm on the final day to ensure Kent yet another draw in a rain-affected LV= County Championship Division 2 clash with Essex on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old opener produced two gritty knocks and spent more than nine-and-a-half hours at the crease in the match, scoring 56 as Kent posted 387 all-out in the first-innings and then falling just eight runs short of a maiden Championship century in a second-innings knock in the face of immense pressure to guide the hosts to a draw.

Adams said: “Credit to everybody, but Daniel in particular for putting his head down and grafting. It was a top knock from a young player, with his half century in the first innings, I don’t know if he’ll ever play as many balls in a game as he did in this match. He did tremendously well.”

Bell-Drummond’s half-century on day one was overshadowed by more eye-catching knocks of 82 from Brendan Nash and 105 from Darren Stevens at more than a run a ball, while Mitch Claydon then grabbed his first Kent fivefer on the third day as the home side limited Essex’s first-innings lead to 53, despite them having been 361-3 at one stage.

Ravi Bopara cracked 162 and joined Tom Westley (116) for a record-breaking second-wicket stand of 243.

Daniel Bell-Drummond. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Daniel Bell-Drummond. Picture: Barry Goodwin

With a draw looking nailed-on going into the final day, Bell-Drummond and Rob Key (37) put on 71 for the opening wicket, however a spell of intense pressure, with Essex bowling well to a 7-2 field, saw Kent lose three wickets in an eight-over spell which yielded just two runs.

However Ben Harmison (22) and Stevens (47) joined Bell-Drummond for timely spells in the middle to stave off any lingering hopes of a collapse to leave Essex a chaseable target in the final session.

Bell-Drummond eventually fell after tea for a Championship-best 92, trapped LBW by Jesse Ryder, who claimed five wickets in each innings for his first 10-wicket match haul, as Kent reached 255-8 before declaring with an hour remaining.

Adams said: “To have Stevo with DBD for a large part of the second innings shepherded us to safety. In the end all’s well that ends well.

“Daniel kept grafting and kept going. We’re all very sorry he didn’t get to that three-figure mark but I’m sure it’s not too long in coming.”

He added: “With Daniel’s innings and a first class century from Stevo, a knock from Nashy, Mitch’s first fivefer for Kent - they were all huge positives.

“Three years ago we said we’d try and get as many milestones as we could in the dressing room. There are definitely a lot of positives from this match going forward. The more individual performances we get the better the confidence in the team.”

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