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Leach sucks life out of Kent innings with late burst

Watch highlights of the first day between Kent and Worcestershire

Seamer Joe Leach's first LV= County Championship five-wicket haul put Worcestershire in command on the opening day against Kent at Tunbridge Wells in Division Two.

The 23-year-old bettered his previous first-class best of 4-73 with significant contributions at either end of Kent's innings as the home side were dismissed for 258 just before the scheduled close.

Having removed Daniel Bell-Drummond and Rob Key early in the morning, reducing the hosts to 24 for two, he returned in the final hour of the day to polish off the tail with the help of the second new ball.

Kent, having elected to bat, twice threatened to stamp their authority on the game having negotiated a first hour that offered something to the seamers: firstly a third-wicket stand of 93 between Sam Northeast and Brendan Nash, who made 53 and 41 respectively, and then again when Ben Harmison made 47 and put on 65 for the sixth wicket with Sam Billings.

But they never pressed home their advantage on a sometimes peculiar day that  witnessed two stoppages in play for light reflecting off car windscreens and then a skylight in a house adjoining the Nevill Ground.

Having made early inroads it looked like Worcestershire, chasing a return to the top of the table, were facing a day of toil as Kent vice-captain Northeast eased some of the concerns over his form either side of lunch alongside Nash.

With the visitors bowling a much tighter line of containment after the interval Northeast, who dropped down to three, brought up his half-century with a cut through point off Saeed Ajmal.

It was only the second time in 11 innings he had passed 50, having made just 122 runs in his previous 10 knocks.

The stand was broken when Nash edged Jack Shantry to slip and Northeast, having equalled his best score this season, followed five balls later when he was pinned leg before playing back to Ajmal.

Darren Stevens falling to the Pakistan international, for once playing second-fiddle to Leach, just before tea was crucial as it ensured the momentum was all Worcestershire's going into the last session.

Even then Harmison and Billings seemed to have pulled things back until the latter played across one of Moeen Ali's off-breaks and was trapped in front with the score 210 for six.

As the day hung in the balance Worcestershire took the new ball as soon as it was available and Charlie Morris quickly removed Harmison's middle stump.

Having resisted the temptation to hook Morris, Mitchell Claydon departed doing exactly that when Leach was also recalled to the attack and, shortly before the close, the Worcestershire academy graduate removed Robbie Joseph and Adam Riley to finish with 5-36.

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