Defeat looms for wasteful Kent

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Ian Blackwell

Ian Blackwell picked up 3-35 to undermine Kent's middle order and leave Durham chasing 169 to win

Reigning LV= County Champions Durham need another 102 runs with seven wickets in hand to wrap up their second win of the campaign after a fluctuating third day against fellow strugglers Kent that saw 17 wickets fall.

On a Canterbury pitch showing signs of uneven bounce, Durham lost their last four first-innings wickets for 77 before dismissing Kent for 162 inside 50 overs to leave themselves 18 overs plus the entire final day to score 169 for victory.

In the 90 minutes possible before the close they reached 67 for three after 18 overs as Kent did their best to make amends for a dismal second-innings batting performance.

Kyle Coetzer fell for one to a Makhaya Ntini off-cutter that moved through the gate to hit middle stump, while Michael Di Venuto pulled an Azhar Mahmood long hop to Amjad Khan at deep square-leg.

Young left-hander Scott Borthwick dragged an attempted pull against Amjad on to his off stump, but experienced duo Ian Blackwell and Dale Benkenstein survived without further alarm to strengthen Durham’s hopes of knocking off the required runs tomorrow.

Kent lost their way by losing six wickets for 114 runs in the afternoon session, having worked hard to bowl Durham out for 418 and earn a first-innings lead of six.

Skipper Rob Key drove Mitchell Claydon on the up to short extra-cover and Joe Denly was unfortunate to be adjudged lbw when struck outside the line as he pushed forward to Chris Rushworth.

Geraint Jones bottom-edged a cover drive at Rushworth on to the base of off stump before Sam Northeast was dismissed by a Blackwell arm-ball which hit off stump low down.

Martin van Jaarsveld, who top-scored with 44, drove outside off to edge a full ball from Steve Harmison to second slip and, to the last ball before tea, Azhar played outside the line of another Blackwell arm-ball to go lbw.

Kent’s slide gathered momentum when, six balls after the break, Rob Ferley was beaten by turn from Borthwick, and Alex Blake was bowled through the gate by Blackwell after one turned out of the rough.

Teenage leg-spinner Borthwick had Simon Cook caught by Di Venuto at slip via the outside edge of the bat and Phil Mustard’s right glove, before last man Ntini was caught behind off Steve Harmison.

Earlier, South Africa pace bowler Ntini had finished with 5-84 as Durham were added 71 to their overnight 347 for six.

Ben Stokes reached a career-best 161 not out but Ntini, bowling down the slope from the Nackington Road End, was too good for the Durham tailenders as Ben Harmison and Claydon edged drives to second slip.

Stokes was reprieved by Denly at deep midwicket on 131, but was left high and dry when Rushworth sliced to point and Azhar had last man Steve Harmison caught behind.

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