Essex in sight of victory over Kent
PUBLISHED: 19:56 05 July 2016 | UPDATED: 19:56 05 July 2016
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Bowlers put hosts on top before leaders rally
Essex need just three more wickets to wrap up an innings victory over Kent on the final day of their county championship encounter at Chelmsford on Wednesday.
The home side, having eventually made 569 in their first innings, looked set to complete a resounding success inside three days as they reduced the leaders to 128-7, still 234 runs in arrears.
But Sam Northeast and James Tredwell held up the victory charge in the final session, sharing an unbroken century stand to take the match into a fourth day.
Essex began the day 480-6 and quickly took their lead beyond the 300-run mark, before captain Ryan ten Doeschate became the fourth batsman to fall when within sight of a century.
Ten Doeschate was dismissed for 91, caught by wicketkeeper Callum Jackson off the bowling of Mitchell Claydon and Graham Napier followed soon after, edging Kagiso Rabada behind to leave the hosts 527-8.
James Foster had support from Matt Quinn and hit Tredwell for a straight six to move to within three runs of his half-century.
But Quinn was trapped leg before by Rabada and Foster fell for 49, caught at long-off off the bowling of Joe Denly, as Essex closed on 569, their highest-ever total without any batsman making a century, surpassing the 560 scored in 1933.
Kent began their second innings some 362 runs behind and lost Sean Dickson to a superb diving catch by Alastair Cook at first slip off Napier.
Fabian Cowdrey fell four balls later, caught by Dan Lawrence at point off Porter to find themselves 18-2 and give the former Oaks Park pupil his 100th first-class wicket, before he then trapped Denly leg before with the score on 46.
Northeast and Darren Stevens steadied the ship for the visitors, but Ravi Bopara then broke their defiance as he bowled Stevens for 25 to make it 86-4.
Bopara held on to a catch at point to give Quinn the wicket of Alex Blake with only three more runs added, before Kent went into lunch on 104-5.
Northeast reached his half-century soon after the restart, having hit eight fours, but saw Adam Ball trapped in front of his own stumps by Bopara as Kent slumped to 116-6.
And Bopara claimed his third scalp of the innings when Jackson was caught by mid-on by Quinn with the total on 128.
But any hopes Essex had of wrapping up victory inside three days were frustrated by the eighth-wicket pair, as they shared an unbroken 124-run stand either side of the tea interval.
Tredwell helped steady the ship after Jackson’s exit and continued to give valuable support to Northeast in the final session, as his teammate moved towards the first century of the match.
Northeast eventually reached three figures off 17 balls, with 15 fours, as the duo brought up their century partnership and was unbeaten on 116 at the close, with Tredwell 62 not out.
But Essex remain strong favourites to end Kent’s unbeaten record and take over at the summit when play resumes.