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Kent opener Zak Crawley scores second half-century in the game as his side draw with Northamptonshire in the County Championship


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Zak Crawley scored a second half-century of their LV= Insurance County Championship match on the final day as Kent's game against Northamptonshire finished in a draw.

While the intensity and pace of the bowling didn't match what Crawley can expect to face at Lord’s next month when England play against New Zealand in the first Test of that series, Crawley’s form will still be welcome news for the new England management.

Kent's Zak Crawley scored two half-centuries in their drawn match at Northamptonshire. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Kent's Zak Crawley scored two half-centuries in their drawn match at Northamptonshire. Picture: Barry Goodwin

With little riding on the day as the game drifted towards a draw, Crawley settled for some time in the middle, sharing a 149-run opening stand with Ben Compton.

He struck the ball cleanly and crisply, and accumulated seven boundaries and a six on his way to 84. It followed his first innings of 62 and marks a return to form for the opener after a string of low scores.

Finally, the two sides shook hands on the draw with Kent 170-1 in their second innings.

Northamptonshire started the day needing 23 more runs to avoid the follow-on.

Matt Quinn and Darren Stevens kept things tight early on in a tense opening 20 minutes which saw Tom Taylor fall, caught at second slip, without a run being added in five overs.

Ben Compton also continued his fine form, backing up his first-innings century with 68 not out on the final day. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ben Compton also continued his fine form, backing up his first-innings century with 68 not out on the final day. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gareth Berg opted for the attacking option, taking the Steelbacks to the brink of safety by hitting George Linde for six over long-on while Lewis McManus - batting with an injured finger - posted a hugely valuable undefeated 50.

Ben Sanderson freed his arms, unfurling a string of crunching cover drives in a last-wicket stand with McManus worth 54 before Daniel Bell-Drummond knocked back Sanderson’s off-stump just before lunch.

After the interval, Crawley showed intent from the outset with a straight driven boundary off Sanderson.

Northamptonshire’s opening bowlers, though, kept things tight and Crawley and Compton were content to play the ball on merit and leave well alone outside off.

Northamptonshire fluffed the chance of an early wicket when there was a mix-up between the batters, leaving Compton scrabbling to regain his ground, but both Luke Procter’s throw in from mid-on and substitute keeper Harry Gouldstone’s shy at the stumps were both slightly wide.

Crawley got into the groove with two late cuts off Sanderson and Taylor and played some pleasant cover drives for three. He also displayed some aggression with a clubbed four over mid-off to Rob Keogh and a crunching extra cover drive off Emilio Gay.

He used his feet to come down the track and hit Ben Curran’s slow bowling over long-on for six. One rare miss-hit came via an inside edge down to fine leg off Procter on 40 but he otherwise located the middle of the bat with ease and timed the ball sweetly.

At the other end, Compton continued in the typically sedate fashion that has proved so productive for him this summer before accelerating on his way to 68. He cut and drove handsomely, surviving one moment of danger when a thick outside edge off a ball from Keogh flew away for four.

After tea, Northamptonshire turned to their part-time bowlers to see out the remaining overs.

Crawley’s innings ended finally after 138 balls when he hit Curran straight to long-on.

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