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Charles Randall at Chelmsford
May 10, 2012
Kent 24 for 5 (Willoughby 4-15 ) v Essex
One has to feel sympathy for Alviro Petersen, Essex's overseas signing from Johannesburg. From the heat of the highveld he has been plunged into the soaking cold bath that is Championship cricket in April and now May. He summed up his situation with as much understatement he could muster when he reckoned it was a "bit tough" scoring runs.
Rain allowed only 10 balls to be bowled on the second day as Kent staggered onwards from their overnight 17 for 5, though Petersen did not join the fun in his customary position at slip. He remained in the pavilion after twisting his ankle playing warm-up football, allowing plenty of time to contemplate batting in due course. His injury was shrugged off as mild, though Ashley Young has gone to turf for less at Manchester United.
Even in such a brief passage of play, Kent could have slipped further, as Geraint Jones padded up to the opening delivery from Charl Willoughby and was hit plumb in front by a sharp inswinger. Luckily for him the ball would have missed, just high. A maiden followed from David Masters, and Kent had stopped the rot for the time being.
Petersen, as a Test cricketer, has stuck to his task well with Essex, and his 145 at Cardiff last week was a mature effort. He has not yet succeeded at Chelmsford, but these are early days in his attempt to claw back South African credibility at Essex after Lonwabo Tsotsobe's embarrassing tenure as a bowler last summer.
Tsotsobe started his Essex contract in the April heatwave of blessed memory and flew back home after taking only five wickets in his three first-class games. His Twitter remark declared his sojourn as the "worst two months" of his life. "It's just impossible to work in this environment," he said. The most printable reaction from Essex's coach Paul Grayson was that the comment was "downright rude".
One wonders what Tsotsobe would have thought of the much harsher environment that Petersen has had to endure - tough, even for football.
Rain stayed away for most of a second day lit by sunshine, with the absence of cricket caused by overnight torrents. Kent's first task is to beat their lowest total against Essex, which was 43 at Southend in 1925. Batting is still tricky and with two sunnier days forecast the match could yet have a positive result.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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