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Big-hitting Surrey leave Kent needing early breakthroughs after day one of County Championship Division 1 match at Beckenham


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Kent will be hoping for quick wickets on day two against Surrey after yet more toiling in the field on Thursday.

Matt Walker's side have conceded at least 500 runs in every first innings of the LV= Insurance County Championship so far this season, and the visitors will resume on 318-4 after winning the toss at Beckenham.

Darren Stevens took the wicket of Ollie Pope with the Surrey batsman just four runs short of a century. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Darren Stevens took the wicket of Ollie Pope with the Surrey batsman just four runs short of a century. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Ollie Pope hit 96 in a stand of 178 with Ben Foakes, who was unbeaten on 86, while opener Ryan Patel made 76, but Kent bowling coach Simon Cook insists an early breakthrough when play resumes can change the complexion of the match.

He said: “Losing the toss here is never a good thing, so from that point of view it was obviously a little bit of a disappointing start to the day.

"We controlled the run rate, and we’d have liked to have bowled better in the first session in particular, but how the boys came back, in that session in particular when we got 3-123 and got a reward for hitting good lengths more consistently, kind of dragged us back into it.

“If we were two more wickets on we’d be very, very happy with the day. When you look at this ground you need 450 or 550 and that comes with a bit of pressure as well, so that’s what we have to keep reminding the Surrey batters.

"They’ve not got away from us yet and two or three quick wickets tomorrow and we’re right in this game.”

Kent had reduced Surrey to 123-3 shortly after lunch but, despite 2-73 from Nathan Gilchrist, the hosts laboured for most of the day.

Jack Leaning and Nathan Gilchrist talk tactics. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Jack Leaning and Nathan Gilchrist talk tactics. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Backed by a sizable number of travelling fans, Surrey won the toss and chose to bat, to a collective groan from the home fan-base, demoralised after conceding 500 runs or more in every first innings so far this season.

Their initial pessimism proved well-grounded as openers Rory Burns and Patel were almost entirely untroubled during the morning session. Aside from an edge from the latter that just eluded the slips, Surrey suffered few alarms and Patel brought up his 50 when he pulled Gilchrist for four.

They were 105 without loss at lunch, only for Kent to drag themselves back into contention with three wickets for 17 runs at the start of the afternoon session.

Patel slashed Matt Quinn to Zak Crawley at first slip and Burns was lbw to Gilchrist for 30.

Hashim Amla made just 12 when he feathered the same bowler behind and for the next hour the scoring rate slowed, but Pope and Foakes tilted the momentum back in Surrey’s favour by batting through the rest of the session.

Pope then drove Darren Stevens for two to pass 50, helping the visitors to 206-3 at tea. In a one-sided evening session, Foakes took a single from Daniel Bell-Drummond to reach his half-century, but Pope fell short of three figures when he was strangled down the leg side by Stevens.

It was the first time Pope had been dismissed in the 90s in county cricket, but although Stevens looked threatening in the gathering gloom, Kent were unable to inflict any further damage, with Jamie Overton unbeaten on 12 at stumps.

Matt Quinn ended Ryan Patel's stay at the crease. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Matt Quinn ended Ryan Patel's stay at the crease. Picture: Barry Goodwin
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