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Injuries aid Windies' win

ENGLAND calls and injury finally took their toll on Kent and undoubtedly aided and abetted West Indies in their 91-run win at Beckenham on Monday.

A hand injury to local favourite Matt Walker, who suffered a suspected fractured finger on his right-hand during the pre-match warm-up drills, left the host’s batting order down to its bare bones.

While Walker travelled back to Canterbury for x-rays, so Kent were left to take on a barrage of four West Indian quick bowlers with only two of their usual top five in the side.

Michael Carberry was promoted to open in place of Rob Key, Alex Loudon pushed up a couple of places to replace Walker leaving Ed Smith to hold together a top five that also missed Australian star Andrew Symonds.

Ultimately the West Indies’ total of 274 proved well beyond Kent but, according to Smith at least, things might have been a lot worse.

“At one point I thought they were going top get away from us and score 300, but in the end we put in a lot of effort in the final 10 overs and did well to keep them down to 274,” said Smith, Kent’s top-scorer.

“It was a decent wicket but it did help their slightly taller bowlers with a little bit of extra bounce and carry.

“But we didn’t really put a partnership together in our innings, that’s the key to winning one-day games and ultimately we didn’t bat that well as a side.

“We were a bit light on batting, but that created opportunities for some of our youngsters and it is a shame we didn’t get a little nearer their target.”

Though Kent were on the receiving end of the exhibition Smith, like the rest of the 7,000 at Beckenham, marvelled at the batting skills of world record holder Brian Lara.

“He bats at times like no one else, using the bat almost like a wand,” added Smith

“He is a magical player, a wonderful player and a very, very special talent.

“The thing that stood out today was his placement. He wasn't quite striking the ball as cleanly as he can do, but his placement into the gaps was exquisite.

“That is what sets the great players aside, they have the ability to put the ball where they want to.”

Kent will now await a medical report on Walker before naming their four-day championship side to face Warwickshire at the Worsley Bridge Road Ground starting tomorrow (Wednesday).

With Key and Geraint Jones away on NatWest Series duty, Kent will hope Walker’s x-rays show no fractures and that the experienced left-hander can take his place in the clash between Frizzell Division 1 title rivals.

Symonds, who rested an Achilles tendon strain this week, should start as will Mohammad Sami who has recovered from a knee problem.

The visitors, fresh from a high scoring draw with Lancashire, will be without Zimbabwean Heath Streak, who is suffering from a stomach strain.

Jim Troughton’s place in the side may also come under scrutiny after Michael Powell scored his fourth 2nd team hundred of the summer earlier this week.

Kent from: Fulton, Carberry, Smith, Symonds, Walker, Loudon, O’Brien, Patel, Saggers, Sami, Khan, Trott, Tredwell.

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