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Kent claim 10 vital points from dour draw

Matt Walker scored 299 runs in a high-scoring, but tame draw with Lancashire
Matt Walker scored 299 runs in a high-scoring, but tame draw with Lancashire

Kent v Lancashire

KENT skipper Rob Key invited Lancashire to chase an improbable 430 from 82 overs on the final day of this LV Championship clash and the Lancastrians duly declined, opting instead to go home with 10 points for a pretty dour draw.

Some pundits understood Key's safety first policy in batting on beyond noon before declaring his second innings on 419 for six in Canterbury, others criticised him for being over cautious.

The reality was that, on this slow, benign pitch and even with a fully fit bowling squad, Kent might have needed another full day to dismiss title-chasing Lancashire.

It hindered Key's cause that Ryan McLaren's fractured right thumb prevented him from bowling and that Lasith Malinga, in his final game for the club, continued to bowl poorly.

Even so, there was never any chance of the visitors reaching the required 5.24 an over or breaking their record for a highest ever successful fourth innings run chase of 404 for five, scored in Southampton in 1910 and even less chance of Kent dismissing them.

They made it through the first hour through to lunch without alarm through openers Mark Chilton and Paul Horton who posted 46 before the red rose skipper Chilton went soon after lunch for 15.

Pushing at a Martin Saggers away-swinger soon after the interval, the right-hander nicked low to Martin van Jaarsveld at slip.

Horton, after hitting 11 fours in his 100-ball innings worth 69, then nibbled at a lifting ball from James Tredwell to pick out van Jaarsveld at slip to make it 100 for two.

Having reached his 1,000 runs for the summer when on five, Stuart Law was forced to retire hurt with a split finger after a blow on the right glove from the rejuvenated Martin Saggers, who was the pick of Kent's attack throughout the game.

Saggers was replaced soon after allowing V V S Laxman and Steven Croft to add 61 before Laxman (22) swept at Tredwell and set off on a chancy single simply to be run out by McLaren's direct hit at the bowler's end.

Law duly returned to play out time until, at 5pm and the start of the final hour, the sides agreed on a draw that moves Kent within touching distance of catching Warwickshire but in risk of being over-taken by Surrey.

The fourth and final day started with Key and Matt Walker at the crease where they extended their third wicket stand through to 288 in 84 overs - a Kent record for any wicket against Lancashire.

Their fun came to an end when Key, just 18 short of a maiden double century for the county, aimed a wide cover drive off Dominic Cork only to be superbly caught by keeper Luke Sutton stood up to the stumps.

The team captain had been batting 403 minutes, had faced 332 balls and scored 21 fours.

Well again after a bout of sickness on Wednesday, Joe Denly (5), became the first championship scalp for Steven Croft who pegged back the right-hander's off stump with an off-cutter that kept a touch low down the slope, but Walker went on to his 150 from 244 balls and with 16 fours and a brace of sixes.

He added 61 in seven overs of attractive shot-making with Neil Dexter (29 not out), but Walker too missed out on a double hundred when, on 157, he drove hard at a good-length ball from Oliver Newby and dragged it onto his leg stump.

The ovation for Walker had barely died down when Simon Cook walked across his stumps aiming to flick leg-side against Newby's next ball to go leg before.

Newby was denied the chance of a hat-trick as Key declared, leaving his bowlers an hour and two sessions to have a tilt at bowling Lancashire out for a vital win in their bid to beat the drop, sadly for Key, it proved no where near long enough.


Kent first innings

J L Denly c Laxman b Chapple 19
R W T Key c Laxman b Newby 17
M van Jaarsveld lbw b Chapple 0
M J Walker c Law b Chapple 142
N J Dexter b Cork 42
G O Jones lbw b Muralitharan 7
J C Tredwell lbw b Muralitharan 19
R McLaren run out (Horton) 2
S J Cook lbw b Newby 38
M J Saggers b Newby 0
S L Malinga not out 1
Extras 40

Total 327 all out after 110 overs

Fall of wicket: 1-30, 2-30, 3-50, 4-173, 5-186, 6-231, 7-236, 8-324, 9-324.

Bowling: Chapple 22-5-63-3, Cork 20-8-36-1, Muralitharan 33.3-5-81-2, Newby 21-4-65-3, Mahmood 13.3-2-56-0.

Lancashire first innings

M J Chilton c Dexter b Tredwell 53
P J Horton c Sub (Lee) b Saggers 37
S J Croft lbw b Cook 29
S G Law b Tredwell 66
V V S Laxman c Tredwell b Saggers 10
L D Sutton c Jones b Saggers 12
G Chapple b Saggers 88
D G Cork st Jones b Tredwell 5
O J Newby not out 1
Extras 15

Total 317 all out (nine wickets down) after 96.4 overs

Fall of wicket: 1-85, 2-127, 3-135, 4-161, 5-179, 6-297, 7-315, 8-316, 9-317.

Bowling: Saggers 25.4-12-43-5, Malinga 9-1-41-0, Tredwell 36-6-146-3, Cook 19-9-43-1, Dexter 7-0-29-0.

Kent second innings

R W T Key c Sutton b Cork 182
J C Tredwell lbw b Chapple 3
M van Jaarsveld c Horton b Cork 28
M J Walker b Newby 157
J L Denly b Croft 5
N J Dexter not out 29
S J Cook lbw b Newby 0
Extras 15

Total 419 for six declared after 112.4 overs

Fall of wicket: 1-15, 2-65, 3-353, 4-358, 5-419, 6-419.

Bowling: Chapple 19-1-50-1, Cork 32-4-107-2, Newby 15.4-1-74-2, Mahmood 17-1-69-0, Law 4-0-21-0, Croft 18-2-64-1, Laxman 5-1-15-0, Chilton 2-0-8-0.

Lancashire second innings

M J Chilton c van Jaarsveld b Saggers 15
P J Horton c van Jaarsveld b Tredwell 69
S J Croft not out 59
V V S Laxman run out (McLaren) 22
S G Law not out 29
Extras 14

Total 208 for three declared after 67 overs

Bowling: Saggers 14-7-22-1, Malinga 12-0-60-0, Tredwell 24-5-71-1, Cook 6-1-27-0, Denly 7-1-17-0, van Jaarsveld 4-1-8-0.

Match drawn; Bonus points: Kent 10pts, Lancashire 10pts.

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