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July 7, 2014
Kent 106 for 5 trail Leicestershire 217 (Robson 56, Claydon 5-77) by 111 runs
Mitchell Claydon claimed his best figures for Kent as Leicestershire were bowled out for 217 on a day when 15 wickets fell at Grace Road. Bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire hit back by taking five wickets in the final session to leave Kent on 106 for 5 at the close, still 111 runs behind.
It was certainly a day for the seam bowlers, with Claydon taking 5 for 77 in 21 overs before Leicestershire's attack put them back into contention as they seek their first Championship win of the season.
Rob Key and Daniel Bell-Drummond put on 40 for Kent before five wickets fell for 54 runs in 22 overs. The departure of Key began the collapse, with the Kent captain popping up a simple catch to midwicket off Charlie Shreck. Bell-Drummond was then trapped lbw by Ben Raine and Ben Harmison dismissed in similar fashion by Rob Taylor.
Brendan Nash chopped a ball from Nathan Buck back into his stumps and when Sam Northeast was brilliantly caught at slip by Greg Smith off Shreck, Kent were in disarray at 94 for 5 but Darren Stevens and Adam Ball saw them through to stumps.
On a green-looking pitch, Key had no hesitation in bowling first after calling correctly. And the morning session proved eventful and entertaining with 126 runs, five wickets and 22 boundaries.
The first ball of the day set the tone, with a delivery from Claydon thudding into the pads of Smith. But Indian umpire Anil Chaudhray, taking part in an exchange scheme, turned down the concerted appeal.
There was certainly enough in the pitch to keep the bowlers interested, but they were also helped by the shot selection of the Leicestershire batsmen, who seemed to be stuck in Twenty20 mode. It was almost a shot a ball at times and the boundaries flowed as regularly as the wickets fell, and by lunch Claydon had taken four for 47 in 13 overs.
Smith was caught behind off a loose drive for 16, all his runs coming in boundaries, Ned Eckersley edged a lifter, Josh Cobb nicked one to slip and Angus Robson top-edged an intended hook to give Billings his third catch. But by then Robson, younger brother of England opener Sam, had posted his eighth half-century of the season from 58 balls with 10 fours.
In between all that, Dan Redfern was brilliantly caught at mid-wicket by Bell-Drummond as he tried to pull a short ball from Stevens.
Claydon bagged his fifth wicket when he pinned Niall O'Brien lbw and it needed an eighth-wicket partnership of 54 - the biggest of the match so far - between Taylor and Jigar Naik to take Leicestershire past 200 for a batting point before Charlie Hartley picked up the last two wickets.
Leicestershire coach Ben Smith was not impressed with his side's batting and said. "I did not think there was much wrong with the pitch. It was a mixture of their bowlers putting the ball in good areas and our batters not showing the discipline needed for four-day cricket."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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