A remarkable 190 by Darren Stevens, who struck 15 sixes during a 149-ball blitzkrieg and a record-breaking ninth wicket stand of 166 with Miguel Cummins, trumped the earlier efforts of Timm van der Gugten (4/34) and Michael Neser (4/67) as Kent made 307 against Glamorgan on the second afternoon of their LV=Insurance County Championship match at a windswept Canterbury. When bad light ended play after 19.4 overs, Glamorgan were 55-2 in reply.
With tea having been taken at the end of the Kent innings, there were 49 overs remaining today for Glamorgan’s batsmen to face with Darren Stevens, the hero of the hour, straight back into action as he shared the new ball with Matt Quinn. David Lloyd square-cut Quinn but, two overs later, he departed l.b.w. to the on-loan seamer as Marnus Labuschagne arrived in the middle with light rain starting to fall.
He opened his account in regal fashion by drilling Stevens for successive fours through extra-cover but the veteran had the last laugh as, after asking the wicket-keeper to stand up to the stumps, he removed the Australian, as in the previous contest at Cardiff, leg before for 11. Billy Root joined Cooke as Miguel Cummins entered the attack at the Nackington Road End in place of Stevens and was square-cut for a trio of fours by Root with the third being a deliberate dab high over the head of the slips before the recently capped batsman cover-drove the West Indian. The umpires took the players off the field after 16 overs as bad light stopped play and saw the loss of six overs before conditions improved and allowed a further 3.4 overs before the light deteriorated again and they departed for a second and final time.
With his team having lost six wickets for 80 runs in 30 overs this morning, Darren Stevens was looking to continue his resistance as the half-century maker returned to the crease after lunch with Kent on 150-8. Timm van der Gugten resumed the bowling in tandem with Michael Neser with Stevens flicking Neser for six over square-leg before adding another maximum as he drilled the Dutchman back over his head as drizzle started to fall.
Stevens then survived a sharp chance at slip as he scythed again at van der Gugten before celebrating his good fortune by harpooning the Dutchman high over the mid-wicket boundary for six before chopping him through backward point for four. The visitors then switched to spin with Andrew Salter entering the attack but Stevens lofted him over long-on and mid-wicket for another pair of lusty sixes before steering Michael Hogan through backward point for four followed next ball by a rasping on-drive for another four to complete a remarkable 92-ball hundred.
The 45 year-old continued to turn the game on its head as he lofted Hogan for six to mid-wicket as Salter caught the ball but stepped over the ropes before driving the off-spinner over extra-cover, square-leg and long-on for further sixes during an over which saw the century stand come up in which Miguel Cummins contribution was a solitary single. David Lloyd replaced Salter and was dispatched to long-on by Stevens, before Marnus Labuschagne spilled a chance on the boundary’s edge to deprive Hogan of what looked like being his 399th wicket for the Welsh county.
Billy Root also erred at deep mid-wicket as another chance went abegging on the mid-wicket boundary with Stevens securing another six before drilling the next ball from Lloyd over long-off for another maximum. Later in the over he completed his 150 from 117 balls with a single to long-on before straight-driving Hogan for another six. Marnus Labuschagne then had a trundle and was swept for four and straight-driven by Stevens for six – his fifteenth maximum – before another lusty blow felled umpire Richard Illingworth at square-leg.
Fortunately, the umpire was OK as play continued with a straight-driven four by Stevens against Labuschagne taking the total to 290 as this remarkable stand became the highest-ever for the ninth wicket against Glamorgan in first-class cricket, surpassing the 161 added by Surrey’s Geoffrey Whittaker and Stuart Surridge at The Oval in 1951. Stevens added another four later in the over as he nurdled the Australian to third man.
But four runs later, Stevens’ whirlwind hitting came to an end as he was caught by Kiran Carlson at long-on off Labuschagne having struck 15 fours and 15 sixes, one short of Andrew Symonds’ record of 16 sixes for Gloucestershire against Glamorgan at Abergavenny in 1995. Matt Quinn then walloped his first ball for six to long-on to bring up the 300 before Cummins ended his restraint by swatting Douthwaite for four. However, next over Labuschagne ended the Kent innings as he bowled Cummins with the English side ending on 307.
Only 22 overs were possible yesterday on the opening day of this contest as the weather continues to play havoc with the Championship schedule. Whilst April was one of the driest on record, the weather has been dismal during May with Glamorgan losing a fraction in excess of 30 hours of play from the total of 54 scheduled over the course of their last nine days in the competition.
The meteorological conditions were more favourable this morning and allowed a start on time at the Spitfire St. Lawrence with sunshine greeting the players as Timm van der Gugten resumed the bowling duties on a day when 104 overs are available in a bid to make up for lost time yesterday. Having bowled yesterday at the Nackington Road End, Michael Neser switched this morning to the Pavilion End and removed Jack Leaning with his tenth delivery of the morning as the former Yorkshire batsman departed l.b.w.
73-3 saw Sam Billings make his way to the middle for the first time this summer for Kent having returned from India after the suspension of the Indian Premier League and completing a stint in quarantine. He got off the mark with a well-timed cover drive against Neser before clipping a ball to fine-leg with the return throw to wicket-keeper Chris Cooke seeing the Glamorgan captain tumble backwards in catching the ball and cannoning into the stumps.
They were spreadeagled again next ball, albeit in more conventional manner, as Neser clean bowled Cox with a delivery which jagged back in to the opening batsman. Daniel Bell-Drummond, now occupying a middle-order berth compared with the match last month at Cardiff, duly joined Billings but his poor run of form continued as he also departed l.b.w to Neser. With Darren Stevens as his new partner, Billings dabbed van der Gugten to third man for four but was also adjudged leg before later in the over as Kent’s plight worsened to 84-6.
It almost became 84-7 but Marcus O’Riordan survived a chance at second slip as David Lloyd spilled a waist-high edge from another probing delivery from the frugal van der Gugten. Darren Stevens then cover-drove successive balls from Neser but van der Gugten’s accuracy was rewarded as O’Riordan was squared up by a delivery from the Dutchman and edged into Cooke’s gloves.
Michael Hogan then replaced Neser, as van der Gugten’s miserly spell continued before he was flayed to mid-wicket by Stevens as the seamer yielded only his second boundary in his fifteenth over before Neser returned to the attack and was twice cover-driven for four by Nathan Gilchrist. Stevens also top-edged a pull against Hogan as the ball flew high over the ropes for a wind-assisted six before the 45 year-old all-rounder flicked Hogan to fine-leg for a more orthodox four. But with the total on 128, Neser trapped Gilchrist leg before with Stevens responding by straight-driving Dan Douthwaite for four before pulling him for six, followed by a huge swipe to third man for another four. He duly completed his muscular fifty from 61 balls in the final over before lunch with another furious straight-drive against Douthwaite.