Surrey’s bowlers stuck to their task on a freezing opening day of their pre-season game against Kent at Canterbury. The home side closed on 318-8 with the bowlers sharing the wickets and working extremely hard in Baltic conditions.
On a day more suited to the South Pole than Canterbury, Kent won the toss and decided to bat first. Jade Dernbach and Jon Lewis took the new ball and made life difficult for the Kent opening pair of Rob Key and Sam Northeast.
After fifty minutes of play Lewis made the breakthrough when he trapped Northeast LBW for 11 to leave Kent 21-1. Tim Linley was brought into the attack from the Nackington Road End and had a couple of big LBW shouts against Key and Daniel Bell-Drummond turned down. But Linley then had Bell-Drummond caught behind for 7 as the Surrey bowlers continued to test the Kent batsmen’s early season techniques.
Key looked in solid form for the second day of April and he was joined by Brendan Nash. Together they moved the score past fifty as Nash immediately settled as both Gareth Batty and Gary Keedy came into the attack. And Keedy then took his first wicket for Surrey just before lunch when Key on 37 checked a drive straight to Batty at cover point as the home side went to lunch on 102-3.
Nash looked particularly fluent after the interval and played shots that would not have looked out of place in mid July. And he moved to an excellent fifty with a crisp drive off Stuart Meaker to the cover boundary.
Nash and Michael Powell moved the Kent score onto 161 but Dernbach then switched his line of attack from the Nackington Road End and had Nash caught behind for 75. And Kent found themselves 183-5 when Batty deceived Powell in the flight on 41 and Lewis held a steepling catch at mid off.
Geraint Jones and Ben Harmison guided Kent to tea with the scoreboard reading 206-5. After the interval both batsmen settled at the crease as they took their partnership past fifty and Surrey took the new ball.
Jones looked in particularly good form and moved to an excellent fifty with a punch off the back foot from Lewis to the cover boundary rope. But on 56 Jones shouldered arms to Linley and had his off stump knocked back to leave Kent 277-6.
And Harmison’s innings of 47 was brought to an end by Jason Roy when he drove at an outswinger and the outside edge was taken by Steven Davies. James Tredwell and Matt Coles guided Kent past 300 but in the final over of the day Roy picked up his second wicket when he had Coles caught behind for 22.
Tomorrow attention will switch to the Surrey batsmen who will look to spend valuable time in the middle on the final day at Canterbury.