Dogged Foster defies Kent
Essex captain James Foster hogged the crease on day two of LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Kent to give his side an invaluable 47-run first innings lead at Canterbury.
In hot and humid conditions, Foster batted for four and three quarter hours for his 76 to rescue his side from the depths of 23 for four to a respectable position of 273 all out just after 6pm.
Batting again with a first-innings deficit of 47, Kent slumped to nine for three at stumps. Captain Rob Key was caught behind off Graham Napier, nightwatchman Adam Riley skittled by Maurice Chambers and, in the final over of the day, opening batsman Sam Northeast trapped on the back foot by a Harbhajan Singh flipper.
It was a complete turnaround in fortunes for Kent, who had started the day in high spirits after taking a glut of Essex wickets in the opening hour.
In overcast conditions the home attack made the new ball swing and sing to their tune and the Essex top order duly struggled.
Jaik Mickleburgh pushed half-forward to a Charlie Shreck leg-cutter to edge to the keeper, Owais Shah was lbw to a nip-back ball from Matt Coles and Tom Westley was caught low at slip off the same bowler.
When Shreck squared up Mark Pettini with an away swinger that clipped the top of off-stump to make it 22 for three, Kent were happy - even more so when Ryan ten Doeschate perished to a Darren Stevens away swinger to make it 82 for five at lunch.
That was the cue for Foster’s rearguard action. The right-hander toughed it out for 226 balls and hit only five fours for his part in a sixth-wicket stand of 126 in 33.2 overs with Adam Wheater.
In terms of entertainment, Wheater played a far more positive role - striking 12 boundaries in his eye-catching 82.
His stay ended after 109 balls when he aimed to reverse-sweep Adam Riley to go leg before and, once Foster went to the new ball, Kent ran through the tail by taking four wickets for 20 in 29 balls with Shreck returning 5-51.
That was the cue for Kent to reduce the arrears, but they had not reckoned with Essex’s bowlers.