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Rory Burns takes his side to Beckenham to resume the oldest rivalry in world cricket, which enters its 249th year as Surrey take on Kent in the LV= County Championship.

 

Things are looking rosy in the garden for Division One table-toppers, with all the batters in nick and the bowlers relentlessly hounding the opposition this season. It is not fluke Surrey are top of the pile, having won all three of their home fixtures and drawn the two away clashes while piling on the runs.

Seven men are averaging 40 or above, and two of them are topping 100, with six centuries already compiled in five matches; and with the ball the potency of the attack has meant head coach Gareth Batty has ben able to rotate his bowlers to keep them fresh. The standouts have been Jordan Clark with 21 wickets at 25 and Jamie Overton with 13 at 24 but in truth the pressure has been applied by the whole attack, with Dan Worrall and Colin de Grandhomme picking up crucial wickets against Northants.

Kent, on the other hand, have struggled and are propping up the table with two losses and two draws from their opening four fixtures. But that is not to say there have not been bright spots. They racked up nearly 600 against Essex in the season opener, with hundreds for Ben Compton and Jordan Cox, and then Compton scored twin hundreds in a bruising 10-wicket defeat to Lancashire, almost carrying his bat in both innings.

Despite Daniel Bell-Drummond hitting a hundred, they were then beaten by an innings by Hampshire, who racked up over 650, and then in their most recent game Yorkshire hit 571 and it took bad light to stop the White Rose’s victory charge.

So it has been a tale of plenty of runs – Ben Compton is currently the second highest run scorer in Division One with 560 – but not enough wickets. Indeed, the Kent attack has taken only 37 in four matches. But this is a rivalry where form goes out of the window and Surrey will know they must be on their guard. Nothing will be taken for granted.

Kent squad

Jack Leaning (c)
Daniel Bell-Drummond
Ben Compton
Jordan Cox
Zak Crawley
Joe Denly
Nathan Gilchrist
George Linde
Matt Milnes
Harry Podmore
Matt Quinn
Ollie Robinson (wk)
Darren Stevens

Last season: 1st in Division Three
Director of cricket: Paul Downton
Head coach: Matt Walker
Captain: Sam Billings
Overseas: George Linde, Jackson Bird (April-May, now gone home), Matt Henry (July-Sept)
In: Matt Quinn (Essex), Ben Compton (Nottinghamshire)
Out: None

Head-to-heads

                        P             W          L         D         Tie

Home             143           64          26        51         2

Away              139           42         43        54          0

Total               282         106         69        105        2

Last Three Matches v Kent:

May 20-23, 2019 at County Ground, Beckenham: Surrey 439 (SG Borthwick 95, WG Jacks 120, R Clarke 88, PWA Mulder 4-118) & 280 (Borthwick 58, SM Curran 80, HW Podmore 3-66, ME Milnes 4-74) drew with Kent 294 (SR Dickson 128, Z Crawley 63, Curran 3-54, Clarke 3-70, GJ Batty 3-49) & 352-8 (Dickson 91, HG Kuhn 81, Mulder 68*, M Morkel 3-86, Clarke 3-67)

July 7-10, 2019 at the Kia Oval: Surrey 271(9) (D Elgar 63, BT Foakes 60, HW Podmore 3-42, G Stewart 3-84, ME Milnes 3-54) & 218 (Elgar 65, DI Stevens 5-60, Milnes 4-61) lost to Kent 369 (Z Crawley 69, JL Denly 88, DJ Bell-Drummond 64, HG Kuhn 54, SM Curran 3-56, R Clarke 3-64) & 124-5 (OG Robinson 51*) by 5 wickets

August 22-25, 2020 at the Kia Oval: Kent 342 (G Stewart 58, SM Curran 3-85, AW Finch 4-69) & 127 (Curran 4-39, R Clarke 5-20) beat Surrey 278 (BT Foakes 118, HW Podmore 3-61, DI Stevens 3-45) & 174 (BT Foakes 57, Stevens 4-41, ME Milnes 4-57) by 17 runs

Approaching Milestones

First-class in total: Surrey players: HM Amla 18,934 runs; SM Curran 2,982 runs; J Clark 4 5wI; BT Foakes 291 dismissals as kpr & fldr; J Overton 198 wkts; Kent players: Z Crawley 3,869 runs; JL Denly 29 100s; NN Gilchrist 42 wkts; ME Milnes 4 5wI; HW Podmore 4 5wI; MR Quinn 145 wkts; OG Robinson 1,917 runs, 4 100s. First-class for Surrey: HM Amla 1,832 runs, 4 100s; SM Curran 1,943 runs; First-class for Kent: DJ Bell-Drummond ct 49; Z Crawley 4 100s; DI Stevens 34 100s.