Coles and Nash punish Leicestershire
Matt Coles and Brendan Nash excelled as Kent took complete control on the opening day of their LV= County Championship Division Two clash with struggling Leicestershire at Canterbury.
Having dismissed the visitors for 141 inside 54 overs, which included 5-41 from Coles, Kent closed 37 runs behind on 104 for two after an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 68 between Rob Key and Nash.
Home skipper Key batted almost three hours for his unbeaten 23, while Nash was positive in posting an unbeaten 50 from 74 balls, including seven fours.
Responding to Leicestershire’s poor first-innings total, the hosts made a dreadful start when Sam Northeast, fresh from a brace of second XI centuries and preferred for this game to on-loan Scott Newman, fended Matthew Hoggard’s first-ball lifter to slip.
Ben Harmison played attractively for 30 before he too fell to the former England seamer when chopping a short one onto the base of leg stump.
Key and Nash dug in thereafter to boss the final session and leave Leicestershire pondering their ill-disciplined batting of earlier in the day.
Though England Lions paceman Coles had bagged his second five-wicket haul of the championship campaign to take his season’s first-class tally to 33, it was the experienced Charlie Shreck who ran through Leicestershire’s top order with a devastating spell of 3-1 off 11 balls.
Openers Will Jefferson and Greg Smith both rode their luck in posting 27 for the first wicket.
The former survived a huge appeal for leg before against Mark Davies, while his partner was dropped at third slip off Shreck when on five.
Neither made the most of their good fortune, however, as Jefferson fell lbw to Shreck when half forward. Eight minutes later and without scoring, Jacques du Toit’s half-hearted cut brushed the edge to give wicketkeeper Geraint Jones the first of five catches behind the stumps.
Smith then flailed across the line against Shreck to also go leg before, Josh Cobb fished outside off against Coles to be caught behind, as did the leaden-footed Ramnaresh Sarwan after making 17.
Scottish-raised South African Preston Mommsen also appeared to have his feet set in cement when he forced off the back foot against Darren Stevens to again gift a catch to Jones and make it 66 for six at lunch.
After the break, Ned Eckersley, with 31 not out, and Wayne White, who top-scored with 38, all but doubled the visitors’ score in adding 56 for the seventh wicket until the latter also nibbled Coles behind to Jones.
No-one made double figures thereafter as Kent, in glorious batting conditions, wrapped up the Leicestershire innings by 3.30pm.