Championship Report: Kent v Warwickshire
Day Four – Close
Dom Sibley excelled once again as he passed his own highest first-class score of 242 as he reached the second double-hundred of his career, before being dismissed for 244, showing immense concentration in a match that ended as a draw
It was a magnificent innings from Sibley, who took complete advantage of an opportunity to bat long on a pitch that was offering nothing for the bowlers, where there was over 1,000 runs scored in four days, but only seven wickets picked up.
Initially, Hose provided the support for Sibley, with their fourth-wicket partnership reaching 75, however it ended when Hose was trapped lbw for 21.
Sibley welcomed his fifth wicket partner, Lamb whilst on 220*, although this partnership was not to last, as Lamb was also dismissed by lbw, by Stewart for 6. His next partner, Ambrose was given a life after an edge was dropped at third slip.
Sibley then became the batsman with the highest score of the 2019 County Championship so far, passing Billy Root’s 229 from June, as well as him having the highest score in first-class cricket for Warwickshire in the last 12 years, since Ambrose’s 251* against Worcester in 2007.
He reached yet another milestone, as he exceeded his own highest first-class score of 242 with a single to backward point, passing his previous best set when he played for Surrey and was the youngest player to a double hundred in the County Championship.
Unfortunately, after over 11 hours at the crease, his innings had to come an end when he was caught at short fine leg for 244 off 491 balls, 10 minutes before Lunch.
Mike and Ambrose steadily increased Warwickshire’s total, as they reached a partnership off 55 before Ambrose was ran out going for a quick single for 39 off 115 balls.
This brought captain Jeetan Patel to the crease in a game that was heading towards a draw, as he batted alongside Mike, ticking along the scoreboard nicely under little pressure from Kent, guiding Warwickshire to tea 531 for the loss of seven wickets.
After tea, Patel and Mike took advantage of a lifeless pitch and a fatigued Kent attack, who resulted to bowling their opening batsmen, Crawley and Dickson as they took Warwickshire’s score above 570 together, and reaching a partnership of 62.
Once Warwickshire were legally allowed to delcare at 4:50pm they did and the game was pronounced a draw in a match where the bat was a dominating factor and bowlers struggled to get any response from the pitch.
Warwickshire finished the game on 574/7d, with the obvious stand out performance from Dom Sibley who dominated Warwickshire’s batting alongside his trusty opening partner Wil Rhodes as they shared the record breaking opening stand.
Day Three – Close
A day where records tumbled with Rhodes and Sibley making a record breaking opening stand, before Sibley kicked on and became the fastest batsmen this season to 1,000 first class runs as well as making his first double-century for the Bears.
Rhodes continued his attractive innings at the start of the day, as the pair passed 150 without loss within the first half hour of the morning, while simultaneously he progressed to his highest score of this season of 83.
Their impressive display persisted as they surpassed their previous highest opening stand together of 176, which was secured back in June 2018 against the same opposition. In quick succession, they also broke the record of the highest opening partnership ever against Kent, standing at 196 which was previously set by Olster and Twose back in 1994 at Edgbaston.
Rhodes then went through to his 5th first-class century from 218 balls just before lunch, which included 14 fours and 1 six as his sprightly, yet controlled innings resulted in his first Championship century this season. Unfortunately the outstanding innings and partnership had to come to end when Rhodes edged behind a delivery from Stewart for 109, off 230 balls.
Sibley, as the current leading run scorer of Division One went through to his third century of the season so far for Warwickshire, bringing it up with a stunning four, reaching the milestone from 241 balls, as he cemented his fourth consecutive century against Kent.
Hain and Sibley then shone for Warwickshire in the afternoon session as Kent could only master up the one early wicket, shortly after the restart when Yated edged Stevens behind for 3.
Sibley pursued his fantastic innings as himself and Hain guided Warwickshire to over 300, securing the third batting point in the 105th over.
This established partnership between Sibley and Hain was worth 79 as they went into tea unbeaten, with Sibley reaching 149*, exceeding his previous highest score for Warwickshire of 144 from the latter stages of the 2018 season.
Hain provided ample support for Sibley as their efforts were rewarded, passing 100 partnership. However they could not continue as Hain edged Podmore behind for 40 off 119 balls.
The wicket did not hinder Sibley though, as he became the fastest player to 1000 first class runs this season as he reached 175*, as he went into this mid-table clash on 825 runs from both the championship and the MCC match back in March. In unison, he broke yet another record as he surpassed Nick Knights previous highest individual score against Kent of 174, set in 1995.
The opener who had batted for over 8 and a half hours saw Warwickshire through to their season best innings total of 392, before he secured his second double-century of his career on the brink of stumps. His first double-century for the Bears came from 406 deliveries and including 30 fours, to continue his impressive season.
With just the one over left before close when Sibley passed the milestone, he saw Warwickshire through till the conclusion of Day 3, unbeaten on 207*, with Warwickshire 400/3 after another day batting on an unresponsive pitch.
Day Two – Close
It was Sibley and Rhodes who led the fightback against Kent as they both hit unbeaten centuries to see Warwickshire through to close, ending a day for the batsmen on 142 without loss.
After a long first day in the field for the Bears, Wainman’s dismissed Dickson for 161 with his fourth ball of his spell, as the centurion attempted a pull shot which consequently ended up in Patel’s hands.
As Kent tried to maintain the fast tempo of their innings, continuing upon their strong platform, Daniel Bell-Drummond surpassed his first century of the season so far, bringing up the milestone off 181 deliveries, being his first championship century since April 2016.
Warwickshire remained energetic in the field and their hard work paid off as Wainman collected the second wicket of the morning, with Kuhn being caught at backward point for 17.
With just the two breakthrough’s, Daniel Bell-Drummond went through to his highest County Championship score, of 154*, seeing Kent through to Lunch alongside Ollie Robinson.
Wainman persisted with his attacking bowling after lunch, which proved vital as he dismissed Bell-Drummond for 166, thanks to a spectacular catch behind the stumps by Ambrose, giving Warwickshire their first bowling point.
Ollie Robinson strived to accelerate reaching his half-century from consecutive fours, with his 50 coming off 79 balls, which saw Kent pass 550. However, a slower ball from Lester brought an end to his innings as he was caught at mid-off by Rhodes for 78.
It wasn’t long before Patel got the wicket of Stevens, as he was caught at point by Hain for 4, which triggered Kent’s declaration on 585, for the loss of seven wickets.
Rhodes and Sibley began Warwickshire’s response to Kent’s mammoth first innings total, and guided the Bears to the conclusion of the afternoon session for 33 without loss after some confident batting under the sun.
It was a dominant display from both Warwickshire openers during the evening session also, as Sibley and Rhodes added 100 to the scoreboard without loss.
Subsequently, both brought up their half-centuries on a pitch that wasn’t offering much. Rhodes firstly swept Rayner for 4 to bring up his 50 off 109 balls, and 7 fours. Two balls later Sibley brought up his half-century, for the seventh time this Championship season, with his most recent coming off 87 balls.
The pair exemplified exactly why they are the two leading run scorers in first class cricket for Warwickshire since August 2018, as they put on their highest opening partnership off the season so far, passing the previous best at 132.
Both remained unbeaten at the close of play, after some both resilient, yet confident innings from the pair, guiding Warwickshire to 142 without loss at close, at the mid point of the match.
Day One – Close
Sean Dickson put a Warwickshire’s patched-up side to the sword with a season’s best 146 not out as Kent cantered to 338 for two on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match in Canterbury.
In the best batting conditions of the summer, Dickson featured in two century stands for the sixth-placed hosts that ensured Warwickshire, in seventh, had plenty of leather chasing to do during a one-sided opening day of 96 overs.
Batting first after winning the toss, Kent’s Zak Crawley and Dickson made hay with their season’s best opening stand of 132 against a makeshift Bears’ attack shorn of six, first-choice bowlers through injury or unavailability.
With such a lengthy list of absentees, Warwickshire named two loan signings in Ben Mike (Leicestershire) and Toby Lester (Lincolnshire), as well as James Wainman, the former Yorkshire left-armed seamer, recently signed on a short-term deal as a free agent.
Sensing their opportunity, Dickson and Crawley latched onto anything loose to post 50 at less than a run-a-minute with Crawley plundering five boundaries to Dickson’s brace.
Some brief cloud cover allowed Warwickshire to re-group and send down four maidens through Wainman and Will Rhodes, but the return of blue skies rekindled Kent’s dominance with the bat as Crawley stroked his ninth boundary through extra cover to move to a 68-ball 50 and take Kent into lunch on 116 without loss.
After the resumption Dickson posted his second half-century of the summer from 99 balls and with five fours as he and Crawley went past 128, their previous best opening stand of the season scored against Surrey at Beckenham in May.
But soon after notching his 700th first-class run of the season Crawley fell leg before for 72 after missing an attempted flick through mid-wicket to a Rhodes in-ducker. Their stand of 132 was Kent’s best first-wicket partnership on the ground in Championship cricket since David Fulton and Joe Denly hit 123 against Middlesex in September, 2006.
Dickson and Denly, now in his second stint with Kent, both ploughed on adding 54 inside 16 overs before Denly, tied down on 22 after an hour at the crease, needlessly flung the bat at a wide one from Matt Lamb to be caught at slip.
Kent secured a first batting bonus shortly before tea, then Dickson reached his second century of the summer early in the final session from 212 balls with 10 fours.
With a second batting point under their belts, Dickson and Daniel Bell-Drummond tried to accelerate, but Jeetan Patel, the Warwickshire off-spinner and skipper, sent down 21 frugal overs either side of tea to keep the run-rate in check.
Even so, Kent’s third-wicket partners notched a century stand in 34 overs with Bell-Drummond reaching his half-century from 122 balls that also raised Kent’s 300.
Patel finally rested, allowing Lester and Wainman to share the second new ball, but Warwickshire’s wicketless run increased to 43 overs as Kent reached stumps without further alarm with Bell-Drummond on 68 not out.