Lewis Dispatches Kent

Kent 139 all out (Gregory 6 for 32) and 24 for 2 trail Somerset 169 all out (Banton 63) by 6 runs.

After a first day wash-out, leaders Somerset and Kent finally made it onto the field of play for an incredible second day’s play in their Specsavers County Championship Division One game at Canterbury.

First Lewis Gregory took a career-best 6 for 32 as Kent were skittled out for 139, then Tom Banton hit a maiden Championship half-century after the visitors were themselves in trouble at 14 for 3. At the close Kent were 24 for 2, still 6 runs behind.

In all twenty-two wickets fell in the day where only as 332 runs were scored.

The big news going into the game for Somerset was the omission of Marcus Trescothick and the return to four-day action for Lewis Gregory – who replaced Tim Groenewald in the starting line-up – and Azhar Ali.

Skipper Tom Abell opted against a coin toss and put the home side in to bat. Any nagging doubts that losing a whole day’s play would impact on a positive result were soon waved away when the visitors made up for lost time and reduced the home team to 45 for 4, with Jack Brooks bowling brightly to get two of the wickets including danger man Daniel Bell-Drummond for only 12.

Then Gregory got in the action and had Zak Crawley caught by Brooks for 10 with no further score on the board and from then he dominated the bowling, removing Blake, Stevens, Robinson – who top scored with 37 – Stewart and Milnes. This six-wicket haul eclipsed the 6 for 47 Lewis grabbed at Northampton back in July 2014.

Ultimately 139 was somewhat of a recovery for the hosts.

Abell opened with Ali but with little success, the two scoring 3 and 0 respectively, and were soon joined back in the changing room by James Hildreth (0) with only 14 runs scored. George Bartlett has been in scintillating form this season but he had a rare failure scoring 9 and it looked the bowlers good work had been undone.

Step forward Banton. His 63 included ten four’s as he first put on 62 with Steve Davies (31) then 42 with Gregory (26). Somerset matched the home team’s score with only five wickets down but could only manage a 30-run lead in the end as Stewart and Milnes mopped up the tail.

But the fun was far from over. Gregory again struck early in Kent’s second innings having once again got the better of his duel with Crawley and Kent were 7 for 1 after 2.4 overs. Jamie Overton removed Joe Denly (1) bang on the close of play. Dickson (17) and Podmore (0) were the unbeaten batsmen when stumps were pulled.

So all to play for on day 3. Somerset will be happy to be bowling first thing and will feel confident of early wickets if rain is still in the air.

Elsewhere there was no play at Nottingham so Hampshire finish day 3 as they did day 2 on 93 for 2 chasing the home side’s 162. A draw looks a foregone conclusion there. And Yorkshire were in the field at Woodbridge Road in a game where Surrey finished 290 for 8. There were no wickets for Dom Bess so far.