Published: 06:00, 24 June 2018
Allan Donald hailed the ‘Test match mentality’ of Kent’s bowlers after their win over Warwickshire in the Specsavers County Championship.
After setting their opponents a target of 519 at The Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells, Kent’s bowlers were relentless in searching for the 10 wickets before time ran out, or Warwickshire chased down the runs, on day four.
In the final session of play those breakthroughs finally came and gave them a 73 run win to close the gap to eight points at the top of the table.
Assistant coach Donald said: “On this wicket it was always going to take that sort of an effort. We talked about that right from the go this Test match pack mentality that we’ve worked on and reinforced every time.
“For me the words that define Test match bowling are: pressure, patience, persistence, aggression, a great deal of attitude and creativity.
“Those are the things we’ve been talking about from the start of the season and that pack mentality of bringing pressure every day.
“I couldn’t have asked for more than that. It was a well earned victory for sure.”
On day one, 20 wickets fell with Kent making 197 and Warwickshire 125 in the early bowler friendly conditions.
The pitch offered little for the bowlers in the rest of the match. The home side amassed 446-8 declared in their second innings with centuries for Sean Dickson (133) and Joe Denly (119) while Zak Crawley (93) fell three short of a maiden first-class century.
Keith Barker impressed with the ball taking match figures of 9-86.
With the target set at 519, Ian Bell dug in and made 172 in his six hour innings as Warwickshire looked set to chase down the record total.
Once they were seven wickets down, Joe Denly took the last three in the space of six balls to seal victory.
Donald said: “Ian Bell last night batted superbly and they batted very very well. You get to the ground this morning and you think ‘is this possible?’ You’ve never seen 500 being chased down ever.
“It was a great game of cricket and we knew we weren’t far away from opening one end.
“We just had to keep believing and when it did come the rest came pretty quickly.
“It was an awesome effort. Once again I have to highlight the collective effort and there also was a lot of good performances personally for some guys.”
Matt Henry claimed his 49th County Championship wicket of the season while Harry Podmore took a career best of 4-26 in the first innings and best match figures of 8-110.
Donald added: “Matt Henry was unbelievable again. The way he kept coming back and coming back and then throwing himself around in the field.
“From a personal point of view, what Matt Henry has brought to us this year has been nothing but world class.
“He has brought so much and more to this outfit. The most important thing he has brought is leadership. That’s something I look for in youngsters as well and today that type of leadership was sensational.
“I’m very pleased for Harry Podmore. He keeps making an impact every single time.
“It’s amazing what it does when you get a chance to play. The first time I saw him I thought this kid has got something.
“He’s a scrapper and I love it. I love what he brings to our group and he doesn’t take a backward step to anyone.
“He’s a class bowler and today he looked threatening. Everytime he got the ball he looked like he would create a chance. I’m so chuffed for him.”