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May 31, 2011
Leicestershire 251 and 308 for 7 v Kent 459
Kent appear favourites to defeat fellow strugglers Leicestershire and chalk up their first County Championship win on home soil this season after successfully enforcing the follow-on in the Division Two match at Tunbridge Wells.
Having posted 459, their highest score of the campaign to date, Kent skittled the visitors for 251 to have them batting again by noon on the third day, James Tredwell and Matt Coles taking five wickets each. However, Claude Henderson and Jigar Naik ensured the game went into its final day with an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 62 as the visitors reached 308 for 7 in their second innings for a modest 100-run.
But for their resolve and two classy knocks by James Taylor, the game would have undoubtedly finished within. Taylor, widely tipped to make the step up to Test level for England, scored 96 to go with his first innings rearguard of 49.
Resuming on their overnight score of 220 for 6 and needing 90 more to avoid batting again, Leicestershire lost their last four wickets inside 50 minutes to give Kent captain Rob Key the luxury of enforcing the follow-on.
Tredwell, with four wickets already against his name from day two, had visiting skipper Matthew Hoggard caught at slip, while Coles mopped up the rest to bag his maiden five-wicket haul in championship cricket. It included the prized scalp of Taylor who, one run short of a deserved 50, chased a wide delivery to second slip.
Although Robbie Joseph's new-ball stint at the start of Leicestershire's second innings proved frustrating - the Antigua-born pace bowler conceded five wides and eight no balls - he also proved oddly effective in returning flattering figures of 4 for 57.
Joseph snared first innings top-scorer Will Jefferson leg before wicket, then parried a Paul Nixon drive from a low full-toss into the hands of Key at mid-on to make it 22 for 2. Coles, 21 last week, returned to bowl Matt Boyce with an inswinger and, when Tredwell bowled Andrew McDonald, the visitors were four down and still 108 behind in the game.
Taylor, composed and unhurried in all he did apart from when scampering runs between the wickets, then found a worthy ally in Wayne White - who helped forge a fifth-wicket partnership which added 129 runs in 37.1 overs to dash Kent's hopes of a three-day win.
White reached his half-century at a run-a-ball while Taylor needed 22 more deliveries to reach the milestone as Kent were eventually made to work hard for their next breakthrough.
The hosts needed a touch of good fortune to end the stand when Taylor, in aiming to glance another wild delivery from Joseph, edged to tumbling wicketkeeper Geraint Jones to make it 229 for 5.
One run and three deliveries later, Joseph pinned White lbw and soon after Adam Ball had Tom New caught behind, again down the leg-side to a delivery which took an inside edge before looping up off the pad. That dismissal brought together Naik and Henderson for a secondary backs-to-the-wall stand through to stumps.
With two players still sidelined by injury, Kent have announced the signing of South African fast bowler Charl Langeveldt for their forthcoming Friends Life t20 campaign.
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