Key and Northeast pass examination

Lv County Championship

Jamie Dalrymple

Jamie Dalrymple watched Sam Northeast juggle but take the catch to fall 21 short of a championship ton

In a game where wickets have tended to fall in clusters, makeshift openers Rob Key and Sam Northeast managed to pass a stern new-ball examination in fading light and give Kent a slender five-run lead in their Division Two clash with Glamorgan.

Bad light eventually halted play two overs from the scheduled close at Canterbury to bring an end to a testing 42-minute batting session that both Key and Northeast, who hit the only two boundaries of the reply, did well to survive as Garnett Kruger and David Harrison extracted some life with the harder new ball.

Glamorgan’s choice of the heavy roller, both on yesterday afternoon and again this morning, took much of the zip out of an excellent St Lawrence pitch and generally made batting an easier occupation, especially when the visitors resumed in the morning session on their overnight score of 27 for one.

Yet, as was the case on day one, when one wicket fell here two more tended to follow and it was a combination of spin and swing bowling that undid Glamorgan’s middle order and helped restrict the Welsh to 307 and a modest first-innings lead of 25.

The hosts worked tirelessly for their two breakthroughs of the opening session. While Martin Saggers and Wayne Parnell gave it their all, it was first-change bowler Robbie Joseph who eventually struck by having Michael O’Shea caught at slip two balls after posting his maiden first-class fifty from 99 balls.

Three overs later Ben Wright, who made 41, gave up his own wicket by electing to hook a Steffan Jones bouncer with two men stationed in the deep.

A fourth-wicket stand worth 139 in 36 overs between in-form skipper Jamie Dalrymple and Michael Powell threatened to bat the visitors into a commanding position after lunch, but a 16-ball burst of three for four by off-spinner James Tredwell derailed the reply.

Dalrymple’s 116-ball innings ended 21 short of a third successive championship ton when he clipped towards the leg side, only to see the ball cannon into short-leg fielder Northeast, who reacted quickly to snaffle up the rebound.

Tom Maynard then failed to smother a delivery that popped off the pitch surface and again Northeast pocketed the chance under the helmet at short-leg.

Two overs later, left-hander Mark Wallace pushed down the wrong line to a turning ball and had the top of his off stump pegged back to leave Glamorgan 267 for six at tea.

With the second new ball entrusted to the experienced Saggers, Kent sliced through the Glamorgan tail with another golden-armed stint of 3-4 in 16 balls.

Powell, who hit 65, and Harrison had their stumps rearranged by Saggers yorkers, Robert Croft slashed to slip to give Saggers 3-59, then last man Adam Shantry was beaten for pace by Parnell to end the innings by 5pm.

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