County Championship round-up June 17, 2005

Walker and Stevens power Kent

Cricinfo staff

Warwickshire 252 and 45 for 2 trail Kent 569 by 272 runs with 8 wickets remaining



Matthew Walker and Darren Stevens celebrate striking a century each for Kent © Getty Images

Darren Stevens and Matthew Walker each struck centuries to launch Kent into a strong position against Warwickshire on day three at Edgbaston. Stevens struck 163 and Walker 140 as Kent turned a slender overnight lead into a huge one. Replying to Warwickshire's first-innings score of 252, they reached 569 and Warwickshire were 45 for 2 in reply at stumps, trailing by 272 runs with eight wickets remaining.

Walker and Stevens carried on where they had left off on the second day, as they each posted a century. Walker's knock included 14 fours and two sixes, and Stevens' was similarly boundary-laden: he smote 22 fours and a six.

Andrew Hall also chipped in with a handy 49, and the wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien as undefeated on 21. Hall then turned his hand to the ball, removing both Ian Bell and Michael Powell, the only two wickets to fall so far in Warwickshire's reply.

Bell failed for the second time this match - with the bat at least - as he added a duck to his solitary run in the first innings. Both he and Powell were bowled by Hall. Alex Loudon was Warwickshire's most successful bowler, with three wickets but they came at a cost of 130, runs that the home side could ill afford in the face of an onslaught. The day belonged to the batsmen - and Stevens and Walker took full advantage.

Knocking the champions off the top spot should go some way to soothing Kent's mood after the ECB confirmed yesterday that they would be docking eight points for the provision of a poor pitch. There's not much wrong with the pitch at Edgbaston, as today's run-fest demonstrated, but Kent's bowlers will nevertheless be hoping to take early wickets tomorrow and complete victory.

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