Kent v South Africans, Canterbury, 3rd day July 15, 2012

Kent openers dish out punishment


Kent 210 (Powell 48*, Tahir 4-31) and 105 for 0 (Northeast 54*, Bell-Drummond 48*) drew against South Africans 314 (Amla 77, Kallis 54, Rudolph 50, Shreck 3-90)

The South African bowlers were unable to take a wicket on their final outing ahead of the first Test against England at The Oval next week. Kent's openers, Sam Northeast and Daniel Bell-Drummond, aged 22 and 18 respectively, combated them impressively for the second time in the match as the pair put on 105 in 22 overs to keep the likely Test attack at bay.

It means South Africa's preparations for the first Test have not been without problems. Earlier they lost five wickets for 49 runs against largely unthreatening Kent bowlers although there was useful time in the middle for a number of their batsmen. Jacques Rudolph was the third player to score a half-century, after Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis did so in the morning session, but the lower order flagged at the end.

It took the visitors 27 balls before they scored their first run of the morning as Ivan Thomas and Simon Cook showed discipline without threatening. Amla dabbed a Thomas delivery into the off side and scurried through for a single to open the morning's account but he showed more aggression with back-foot punch past point to bring up his fifty, the second for him on the trip after the 64 he made against Somerset.

It was only when Alex Riley, the offspinner, was brought on that South Africa pushed on the scoring rate. Kallis greeted him with a drive through the covers and then charged down the pitch next ball. Kallis missed but so too did Sam Billings as the stumping opportunity was not taken and Kallis reached his 50 in the same over, in which he hit Riley for two more boundaries.

Runs came more easily after that, particularly off Charlie Shreck, and the pair batted for a further six overs, by which time they both looked comfortable. At the end of 55th they retired at the same time, Amla on 77 and Kallis on 54, to allow the other batsmen time in the middle.

AB de Villiers adopted the same aggressive approach that he employed in Taunton but it did not pay off. After hitting three fours he went for a pull off Matt Coles and was caught in the deep by Bell-Drummond shortly before lunch.

Rudolph was more circumspect and resumed after the break with a confident-looking JP Duminy, who is likely to start the first Test at No.7 following the loss of Mark Boucher. Duminy was particularly assured against spin and hit Riley for a straight six over his head.

Kent took the second new ball as soon as it became available and needed fewer than six overs to have success when Duminy went for a booming drive off Thomas and played on. Vernon Philander was next in and needed to spend time at the crease after a brief stay at Taunton, but he lasted only two balls before edging to second slip. Riley claimed the catch immediately but the umpires met to discuss whether the ball had carried to him and after consultation decided that it was clean.

The South Africans lost a third wicket for just 17 runs when Dale Steyn was given out lbw to Riley although Steyn stood his ground despite the confident appeal and seemed to think he had hit the ball.

Rudolph continued stoically and brought up his fifty off 114 balls with a well-placed hook before scooping the next delivery back to Riley. South Africa were due to end their innings after 100 overs but were effectively bowled out when Morne Morkel was trapped lbw with Kallis and Amla now registered as retired out.

Morkel was given the new ball which he shared with Philander but neither could make anything happen as the Kent opening pair left well and attacked the loose deliveries. Even Steyn could not breakthrough; Northeast drove him through the covers off the first ball he bowled.

While Bell-Drummond looked the more assured of the two for large parts of the innings, Northeast was the more aggressive and he was the one to bring up a half-century with a lofted shot over mid-on. Bell-Drummond drove well throughout but finished two runs short of a well-deserved fifty and both gave the South African bowlers plenty to think about in London.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bryn on July 16, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    dish out punishment? please no pom has ever "dished out punishment"

  • Christopher on July 16, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    I was at the first day and both Bell-Drummond and Northeast both looked very good in the first innings, it was a very different game once those two were out, even Powell who battled hard never looked wholly comfortable. The South Africans certainly weren't at full throttle and treated the game as a warm up, but even at 80% their bowling line up is hugely impressive so kudos to the Kent lads up top for a decent batting display.

  • John on July 16, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    I'm sure SA weren't flat out, but it is nice to see that the two youngsters put on an unbeaten century stand after putting on 81 in the first innings. It's way too early to tell, but Bell-Drummond, at 18, looks to be very promising. With 21-year old Joe Root making an unbeaten double century the other day, there's a lot to look forward to in England over the next few years. In the immediate future- bring it on and keep it dry!

  • david on July 15, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    i would say the saffas were just going thru the motions although better than say nets nothing to play for. but nice that english boys get the chance to show just what they can do

  • Hiren on July 15, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    Oh my my! .... SA are going to get whitewashed by the formidable Pommies, especially after this lackluster performance against weak County sides!!! .... *sigh* :-(((

  • Zippy on July 15, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK There are a few reasons. The SA team don't play that many international matches in the first place: 21 tests and 30 ODIs in the ICC ranking period instead of 32 and 52 for England. A few of the team have been playing county cricket, but the rest have either been in India for the IPL or at home. They are here to play sides in the middle of the season. Hence it seems that some of the players are a bit rusty - Morkel got taken for 24 runs in his first over against Somerset. The second issue are the conditions. Good players will adapt, but it might take a bit of practice to get used to them. With a three match test series, I hope they are ready in time, or they are going to leave themselves too much to do. I want England to win, but its no fun if only one team turns up.

  • Peter on July 15, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    It certainly is a very inexperienced Kent side. Key, Jones, Stevens and Tredwell all rested. Some of the youngsters had a few games last year but their opportunities have been limited this year as Kent brought in 5 or 6 from other counties. Some of this influx have done quite well at times but it's difficult for home fans to identify with a side put together like that. Many prefer watching young Kentish talent come through - as I do - especially when there is no money for expensive transfers. I'd rather see the youngsters blooded in the 2nd div for a few years, even if the team struggles, than see promotion through a mass influx of players. Also thought the disappointing modern trend of putting out a weak team v the tourists might have changed this year, as there has been no proper cricket for weeks & this fixture could have been a decent 3-day prep for the next round of championship games, but SA have faced a very young side, most of the SA bats getting only an hour or so.

  • Nicholas on July 15, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    English conditions must really need some getting used to; either that or visiting teams are simply just trying too hard! Looking on paper I never would've expected visiting test teams to struggle so much against county teams, which other posters insist are rather weak. Really bizarre... I'm still expecting a really close contest between England and SA though.

  • Nicholas on July 15, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Please, don't use the word 'retire'... there's been too much of that recently. Just use 'walked' or something...

  • John on July 15, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    Nice wicket for young Coles- he has a good future. I think the report is wrong and it's Adam Riley, not Alex; pity he missed out on getting Kallis stumped. That would have been a wicket to remember!

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