Essex v Kent
The Cloudfm County Ground, Monday 29 – Tuesday 30 March
Essex: Alastair Cook, , Nick Browne, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Paul Walter, Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater, Matt Quinn, Ben Allison, Shane Snater, Aaron Beard, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter, Feroze Khushi.
Kent: Daniel Bell-Drummond, Jordan Cox, Zak Crawley, Miguel Cummins, Tim Groenewald, Jack Leaning, Matt Milnes, Marcus O’Riordan, Harry Podmore, Ollie Robinson, Darren Stevens, Grant Stewart.
Umpires: Richard Kettleborough & Robert White
Toss: Uncontested, Kent to bat first
Result: Essex win
Day Two: Close of Play Report
Nick Browne showed some fine early season form as he posted 97 that acted as the catalyst for a strong Essex performance in the final pre-season friendly ahead of the 2021 season.
The opener’s effort was supported by an unbeaten 55 from Paul Walter and 40 from skipper Tom Westley.
Chasing a Kent score of 270-5 from 80 overs, the home side passed their target figure in the 79th over with five wickets intact.
Left-hander Browne played attractively throughout his innings spanning 167 balls that contained 19 boundaries as he executed a fluent array of drives to set up the victory.
After the departure of Cook, who was pinned leg before for 10 by a ball from Harry Podmore that kept low, Browne and Westley added 104 in 25 overs with both keeping the scoreboard ticking along with some sweetly-timed strokeplay.
Westley played confidently until, with the score on 127, he was adjudged caught behind off the bowling of Fred Klaassen.
Dan Lawrence joined Browne making 21 in a stand worth 32 in 10 overs before he fell leg before trying to work Podmore into the leg side leaving Walter to join Browne.
Looking assured from the start, Walter gathered his runs in a competent and chanceless manner as he and Browne carried the score to 194 before the latter, looking for the boundary to take him to three figures just before Tea, picked out deep extra cover off the bowling of spinner Marcus O’Riordan.
Ryan ten Doeschate contributed 19 in a partnership of 43 with Walter before edging a delivery from Matt Milnes to the wicket-keeper and it was left to Adam Wheater to join Walter to see his side across the finishing line.
Wheater was 20 not out when the winning runs were recorded but with another 6 overs of the day’s allocation remaining, both batsmen continued and took the opportunity of further practice in the middle. Walter completed his half-century, made from 115 balls, and was unbeaten on 55 at the close whilst Wheater had progressed 37 not out.
Day One: Close of Play Report
Daniel Bell-Drummond struck a century for Kent who reached 270-5 from 85 overs by the close of the opening day of the two-friendly with Essex at The Cloudfm County Ground.
Bell-Drummond hit 101 in a display of clean and uncomplicated hitting in an innings that contained 18 fours and two sixes. It was the second of his maximum blows, this one when facing Tom Westley that took the Kent skipper and opener onto three figures and at that point, he immediately retired out.
There was early encouragement for the Essex pace attack with the wickets of Jordan Cox and Zak Crawley to reduce the visitors to 42-2.
Cox had scored 9 when he shouldered arms to a ball from the impressive Ben Allison and lost his off stump before Shane Snater, following on from his 5-wicket haul against Lancashire last week, trapped Crawley leg before for 2.
But as the sun grew stronger to afford a perfect day for the summer sport, Bell-Drummond flourished together with third-wicket partner Jack Leaning.
The 25th over of the day brought Bell-Drummond to his half-century with the second of two boundaries in the same over from Aaron Beard.
Bell-Drummond and former Yorkshire batsman Leaning took control with the latter, relying on sound technique, bringing up his own fifty from 89 balls that contained eight boundaries.
The next milestone was the century stand realised in 158 balls as Essex Captain Westley regularly rotated his bowlers in an unsuccessful attempt to break the alliance.
The partnership had reached 138 and the total 180 when Bell-Drummond decided to vacate the crease and retired out having batted for almost four hours.
Ollie Robinson stepped across the line facing Matt Quinn and was lbw for 13 with the score on 196 and seven runs later, Leaning retired out for 57 having batted for 3 hours and 9 minutes to leave Kent 203-5.
Crawley, batting for a second time was joined Cox, who made his second appearance of the day and both took the opportunity of meaningful practice combining to post a 67 runs partnership with Crawley 30 and Cox 36 not out.
Of the Essex wicket-takers, Allison finished with figures of 12-7-15-1, Snater 12-4-35-1 and Quinn 11-5-20-1.
The match resumes tomorrow morning at 11am.