Lancs blunted by Nash hundred
Kent 244 (Nash 50, Powell 57, Anderson 4-57) and 178 for 2 (Nash 100*) drew with Lancashire 395 for 7 dec (Katich 93, Brown 87, Croft 64*, Prince 58)
On the evidence of this match, both Lancashire and Kent are going to struggle to take 20 wickets on a regular basis this season. Even if rain had not taken out two sessions a draw would still have been the likely result and Kent played out the final day with Brendan Nash continuing his strong early season form with an unbeaten hundred, although he had to work hard against James Anderson.
Kent were on the edge of a wobble when Robert Key was given caught behind off Glen Chapple although the former captain was clearly unhappy with the decision and stomped off the field hitting his pad with his bat. Another quick wicket, with the deficit still more than 100, would have opened a door for Lancashire but it never came despite Anderson's efforts.
Last season, his first for Kent, Nash averaged over 47 - no mean feat in a wet summer - and his hundred in this innings followed three consecutive fifties to start the season. Nash innings rarely stick in the mind and there is more than a hint of Kent's coach, Jimmy Adams, in the way he plays. There will not be much flamboyance, but he is providing plenty of substance to the top-order.
James Tredwell, in his second game as Kent captain, knows his team can improve but he praised their resolve. "We faced a few challenges in this game and have come through them pretty well," he said. "The first day was probably ideal bowling conditions in the end, having won the toss and had a bat, but we came through that with real fight, then again on this last day. Lancashire have a high-class bowling attack. It was really tough at times on the first day but the resolve was great."
The pitch was on the sluggish side, which did not help attempts to force the pace, but the way Lancashire batted late on the third day and into the final morning showed that brisk run-scoring was possible. Simon Katich, who fell to the first ball he faced today, Steven Croft and Chapple were able to play with freedom because of the platform they were given - so it is difficult to be too critical - but the bowling attack is going to need as much time as possible to force results.
However, Gary Yates, Lancashire's assistant coach, was delighted with the team's approach. "We are pleased how we are playing, and frustrated that we lost quite a bit of time to the weather," he said. "Maybe if we had more time we may have been able to force a result. But fair play to Kent, they batted well and we never really got into a position to force a victory.
"We would like to have had at least one win, but we have played good disciplined cricket and if we continue to do that we will get rewarded with victories sooner rather than later.
"Momentum can be picked up throughout the season and we have played really, really solid cricket. We have set up first-innings leads in both games and without the rain I think we would have set up victory in at least one of those games."
Most of Lancashire's threat with the ball on the final day came from Anderson, who was outstanding, looking a class above the other bowlers (although Kyle Hogg and Matt Coles were excellent), as an England bowler should when he returns to county cricket. He conceded one run in his first seven overs, had Sam Northeast - a talented young opener - playing and missing at four balls in one over, hammered Michael Powell's foot with a rapid yorker and had a high-quality contest with Nash yet still ended wicketless.
Simon Kerrigan, the left-arm spinner, was Lancashire's other main hope on the final day after the declaration following a heavy shower, which left 79 overs remaining in the game. He made the first breakthrough, taking Northeast's off stump with a lovely delivery, but there was not a huge amount of assistance from the pitch and Nash played him excellently.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo