29th Match, Taunton, May 17 - 20, 2024, County Championship Division One
(T:189) 554 & 194/2
(f/o) 178 & 564

Somerset won by 8 wickets


Crawley leads Kent fightback with a superb double century

England opener had mustered only 67 runs in seven previous Championship innings this season

Zak Crawley took charge for Kent in the follow-on, Somerset vs Kent, County Championship, Taunton, May 19, 2024

Zak Crawley took charge for Kent in the follow-on  •  Getty Images

Kent 178 (Denly 61, Overton 3-38, Evison 3-52) and 409-5 f/o (Crawley 238, Compton 65, Bell-Drummond 62) lead Somerset 554 (Banton 133, Rew 114, Gregory 77, Lammonby 69) by 33 runs
England opener Zak Crawley returned to form with a superb double century to lead a stirring Kent fightback on the third day of the Vitality County Championship First Division match with Somerset at Taunton.
There were three wickets each for Craig Overton and Migael Pretorius as the visitors were bowled out for 178 in their first innings from an overnight 108 for 5. Only Joe Denly, with 61, offered much resistance and his side followed on 376 runs behind.
But it was a different story in the second innings as Crawley and Ben Compton (65) put together an opening stand of 194 in 42 overs.
Crawley, who had mustered only 67 runs in seven previous Championship innings this season, fell shortly before the close for 238, having faced 267 balls and hit 31 fours and four sixes. Skipper Daniel Bell-Drummond made 62.
At 409 for 5, Kent's lead at stumps was only 33, but they had given themselves a fighting chance of salvaging an unlikely draw on day four.
Despite seamer Josh Davey being unable to bowl because of illness, it took Somerset just an hour and ten minutes to claim the five remaining Kent first-innings wickets when play began in bright sunshine. Unbeaten on 32 overnight, Denly moved untroubled to a 70-ball half-century before a late order collapse.
Joey Evison was bowled for 11 aiming to drive Pretorius. Denly responded with two boundaries through the covers off Lewis Gregory's opening over, but started to run out of partners when Beyers Swanepoel played a strange shot to a wide ball from Gregory and edged to first slip.
Kent were 166 for 7 and with only seven runs added, Grant Stewart played back to Pretorius, falling lbw for a single. Somerset wicketkeeper James Rew then added to a list of stunning catches this season by diving low to his left to hold an inside edge from Denly off Craig Overton.
When Gregory bowled Nathan Gilchrist for a duck, Kent had added 70 to their overnight total in 15.1 overs. With his bowlers still fresh, Somerset's skipper had little hesitation in inviting the opposition to bat again.
Crawley, dismissed first ball by Overton the previous day, was 23 not out at lunch, with Compton unbeaten on 22 and the first-innings deficit reduced by 47.
Warm afternoon sunshine greeted the players after the interval and Crawley was not about to waste ideal batting conditions, with the pitch having flattened out. The tall opener cracked two boundaries off Jack Leach and then three in the next over from Overton.
The third took him to a half-century off 68 balls. He and Compton went on to dominate the afternoon session, barely playing a false shot as Gregory switched his bowlers and field placings to no avail. Compton went to an unblemished fifty off 67 deliveries, with nine fours.
Crawley reached three figures with a pulled four off the left-arm seam of Tom Lammonby, his 18th boundary of a majestic innings. In desperation, Gregory turned to the occasional off-spin of Matt Renshaw and the Australian obliged with his tenth ball, earning an lbw verdict against Compton with a delivery slanted into his pads.
Tea was taken at 197 for 1, with Crawley on 117. There were still 43 overs remaining in an extended day's play and the final session saw the England player survive a couple of scares when skying shots just beyond the reach of fielders.
By the time he lofted an Andy Umeed leg-break over the long-on rope to reach 200, Crawley had faced 242 balls and extended his boundary count to 29 fours and two sixes. With Bell-Drummond looking equally unruffled moving to a 90-ball half-century, Somerset appeared totally frustrated when Leach straightened two deliveries off a good length to lift spirits markedly.
They accounted for Bell-Drummond and Marcus O'Riordan, both lbw pushing forward. With Kent just 12 runs ahead at 388 for 3, Somerset took the second new ball, knowing there were just six overs were left in the day's play.
It accounted for Crawley, caught behind off Pretorius aiming a back-foot forcing shot through the off-side, and nightwatcher Gilchrist, bowled by Pretorius off what proved the final ball of the day.