Kent v Essex, Canterbury, 4th day

Bell-Drummond buckles down

David Lloyd at Canterbury

June 10, 2014

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Kent 387 (Stevens 105, Nash 82, Bell-Drummond 56, Ryder 5-54) and 255 for 8 dec (Bell-Drummond 92, Ryder 5-56) drew with Essex 440 (Bopara 162, Westley 116, Claydon 5-82)
Scorecard


Daniel Bell-Drummond hit 59 off 30 balls, Somerset v Kent, NatWest T20 Blast, South Division, Taunton, May 23, 2014
Daniel Bell-Drummond was far away from T20 mode during his 257-ball innings of 92 © Getty Images
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Profiles of Daniel Bell-Drummond refer to his "aggressive style and lavish strokeplay" - and there is no doubt the young batsman can give it a biff because he scored 59 off 30 balls in a T20 match just a few weeks ago. But, on the evidence of this contest, "bolt-tight defence, cast-iron temperament and appetite for a fight" can be added by way of description.

Bell-Drummond's first-innings half-century was overshadowed by first Brendan Nash and then Darren Stevens, both of whom made run-scoring look relatively easy - but only after the 20-year-old opener had battened down the hatches following a couple of Essex successes with the new ball.

On Tuesday, though, no one was in any doubt who deserved star billing as Kent earned the draw that had looked odds-on the night before but could so easily have eluded them once the visitors scented blood during a morning session of pressure cricket that was wonderful to watch.

Bell-Drummond, promoted to opener from No. 3 a couple of weeks ago and playing only his 29th first-class match, stood firm and unflinching as Essex struck three times in the space of eight overs while only two runs were added. The contest had reached a real crisis point, from Kent's perspective, because at 73 for 3 they led by just 20 runs.

There was no shortage of chat in the middle and precious little respite. But Bell-Drummond seldom looked like succumbing and, while never able to express himself as he might have wished, his reward was a Championship-best score. The former England Under-19 player deserved a maiden hundred in the competition but was denied that by Essex's somewhat unlikely bowler of the match, Jesse Ryder, who pinned him lbw for 92 as he moved across his stumps in an attempt to flick to leg.

'One of my most important knocks'

  • Daniel Bell-Drummond knew he was not at his fluent best while making a gritty half-century during the first innings of this match but reckoned that helped him to knuckle down second time around.
  • "It was tough work today," he said after batting for five hours and 21 minutes. "I just tried to back my defence, not take any risks and put as big a price on my wicket as I could. I should think that's the longest I've ever batted in an innings so I'm pretty happy with that and it is definitely one of the most important knocks I've played because it went a long way towards saving the game.
  • "I'm disappointed I couldn't get my first Championship hundred but I can't really complain. Hopefully the hundred will come before too long.
  • "Getting through the morning session was really tough - probably one of the toughest sessions I've faced as a batsman. I needed a bit of luck but it was a good education for me."

After nearly five-and-half hours of defiance it was no wonder that Bell-Drummond had to drag himself from the field. But while this innings, like the first, was not blemish-free - he survived a difficult, one-handed slip chance to Nick Browne off Tymal Mills when 26 - there was plenty to be proud about.

Essex, too, deserved enormous praise and if any county in the second division pack can make an impression on the current top two, Worcestershire and Hampshire, one suspects it might be James Foster's men. Here, they came so close to suffocating their opponents during a terrific passage of play after an early morning ball change.

David Masters did his bit with a typically accurate spell, which allowed captain Foster to tighten the grip still further by posting two slips, two leg slips and two short legs. But, as in the first innings of this match, it was Ryder who did the damage by plucking out Rob Key's middle stump, having Sam Northeast caught on the drive at second slip and flicking Nash's glove.

Somehow, the hosts had to break free. They succeeded to an extent with Ben Harmison taking advantage of a couple of short, leg-side deliveries from first change Mills but they still looked far from comfortable. And Bell-Drummond's reprieve reminded them just how much work was still to be done.

In the end, the crucial partnership was one of 86 for the fifth wicket between Bell-Drummond and Stevens. But Kent kept losing batsmen just when they were close to safety, and even their young opener was not quite able to complete the job. Bell-Drummond had taken them near enough, though, and all that really mattered thereafter was a final wicket for Ryder. Having never taken five wickets in an innings, the medium-pacer had now done it twice in the same match to finish with 10 for 110.

David Lloyd is a former chief cricket correspondent of PA and the Evening Standard

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by siltbreeze on (June 11, 2014, 8:49 GMT)

It's great to see some of that promising England U-19s crop of a few years ago - Bell-Drummond, C Overton, Topley - really starting to fulfill their potential, and maybe pushing for higher honours over the next season or two.

Posted by BlakeHoulihan on (June 11, 2014, 5:50 GMT)

Well played Jesse Ryder. Pity you only got a small mention towards the end of the article, when you put in the most remarkable and unexpected performance of the match.

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David Lloyd David "Toff" Lloyd has been one of the most respected cricket writers in England for the past 20 years and is a former chief cricket correspondent of PA and the Evening Standard. He is known as Toff to distinguish him from his more famous namesake, David "Bumble" Lloyd, and often used field calls for Bumble, put through to the wrong hotel room, when on tour
County Fixtures County Results
Group A: Northants v Worcs at Milton Keynes
Jul 29, 2014 (10:30 local | 09:30 GMT | 05:30 EDT | 04:30 CDT | 02:30 PDT)
Group B: Notts v Somerset at Nottingham
Jul 29, 2014 (10:30 local | 09:30 GMT | 05:30 EDT | 04:30 CDT | 02:30 PDT)
Group A: Yorkshire v Gloucs at Leeds
Jul 29, 2014 (10:30 local | 09:30 GMT | 05:30 EDT | 04:30 CDT | 02:30 PDT)
Group B: Kent v Durham at Canterbury
Jul 29, 2014 (14:00 local | 13:00 GMT | 09:00 EDT | 08:00 CDT | 06:00 PDT)
Group B: Warwickshire v Sussex at Birmingham
Jul 29, 2014 (14:00 local | 13:00 GMT | 09:00 EDT | 08:00 CDT | 06:00 PDT)
Complete fixtures »
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