Stevens and Bollinger run riot
Kent 10 for 0 trail Derbyshire 118 (Steven 5-24, Bollinger 5-29) by 108 runs
Darren Stevens and Doug Bollinger combined today to put Kent in apparent control of a curious match that started a day-and-a-half late but then provided intriguing and engrossing cricket, and held out the prospect of a positive result which at lunchtime seemed very unlikely.
Their combined figures were 10 for 53 from 32.3 overs, and they were all over Derbyshire from the first ball. Only Alex Hughes was able to offer extended resistance for the home side as they were dismissed for 118, and they will need someone to emulate the Kent seamers' efforts on Tuesday if they are to stay in contention.
Last September, Stevens swept the board at the Kent awards: best bowler, best batsman, best fielder, best player. These were on the back of 1304 first-class runs, 32 first-class wickets, and 25 catches in all competitions. He's become Kent's "Mr Reliable", and he led the way when play finally got underway at a soggy County Ground at 2.35pm.
There's nothing apparently threatening about Stevens' approach to the crease. In fact he decelerates almost to the point of standstill before entering his delivery stride. But he is unrelentingly accurate and rarely gives the batsman scope for extravagance.
He came on to bowl the tenth over of the innings from the Racecourse End and had a wicket with his first ball, Paul Borrington edging high to second slip where Adam Riley clung on above his head. He took the most prized Derbyshire wicket, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, lbw to the last ball before tea - one that kept a little low - then Scott Elstone in a similar manner.
Later in the day he took a slip catch to dispose of Gareth Cross, then castled Mark Footitt to polish off the innings shortly after he had Tim Groenewald caught brilliantly, diving to his right at short midwicket, by the least athletic-looking Kent player, Rob Key.
Bollinger is Kent's Australian overseas player, a beast of a fast bowler. He runs off 18 paces, bristling with intent, and brings his left arm over fluidly and strong. Apart from Hughes, who finished unbeaten on 36, nobody in the Derbyshire side appeared comfortable against him.
Well over 24 hours after Key won the toss and did the inevitable by putting Derbyshire in, Bollinger bowled the first ball of the match and the batsmen were soon struggling. Bollinger bowled with hostility, making liberal use of a rapid short ball, and took the first wicket with the 13th ball of the innings, trapping Stephen Moore on the back foot.
Not long later he had Derbyshire's captain, Wayne Madsen, prodding to Brendan Nash at point. Then later he brought an end to Cross' first innings since being signed up. Elstone had the misfortune to face his very first ball in first-class cricket from Bollinger and was fortunate that his nick fell just short of wicketkeeper Sam Billings. His eventual 23 was the second-highest score of the innings.
Cross and Hughes added 46 for the sixth wicket but the last four fell for 15 runs, and once Key and Sam Northeast had negotiated the remaining three overs unscathed it was good-looking day for Kent.