Warwickshire overcome superb Kent rearguard to claim thriller

Warwickshire overcome superb Kent rearguard to claim thriller

Warwickshire 453 for 4 declared (Hain 165*, Yates 128, Mousley 94) beat Kent 158 (Bell-Drummond 40, Hasan 3-36) and 281 (Evison 99, Compton 88, Rushworth 3-58, Woakes 3-59) by an innings and 14 runs

Warwickshire overcame a superb Kent rearguard action to claim a thrilling LV=Insurance County Championship victory with six overs to spare in the final-day gloom at Edgbaston.

The home side won by an innings and 14 runs when Joey Evison edged Hasan Ali behind to fall heartbreakingly for 99 having taken his side so close to salvaging an unlikely draw.
When the visitors, having followed on 295 behind, declined to 99 for 7 in their second innings, an ignominious defeat beckoned. But opener Ben Compton (88) and 21-year-old all-rounder Evison added 100 in 25 overs to hoover up much of the afternoon session. Then, after Compton fell in the first over after over tea, Evison and Surrey loanee Conor McKerr added 74 in 27 overs.

Kent were within touching distance of a great escape when, with the light fading fast, Oliver Hannon-Dalby returned to have McKerr brilliantly caught by Will Rhodes at fourth slip and then Hasan sealed the win with a luscious outswinger to the heroic Evison.

Warwickshire deserved the win, having dominated the match, and their vibrant start to the season hints at a potential title challenge to follow their dismal 2022 campaign. For Kent, the final-day fighting spirit offered some consolation but the thrashing came as a major jolt after their opening-round victory over Northamptonshire.

They are at least likely to be boosted by the return from injury of seamer Grant Stewart when they face Essex at Canterbury next week. Whether Matt Quinn recovers in time from a groin injury sustained in this match remains to be seen.

Kent resumed on the final morning 27 for 1, needing to bat out the day, but plummeted to 51 for 5 in the first 12 overs. Warwickshire’s seamers continued where they left off the previous day when they took 11 wickets in 52 overs.

Compton applied himself assiduously but saw a string of partners perish. Nightwatchman Quinn had his off stump flattened by a Chris Woakes inswinger before four wickets fell to smart work by the slips.

Rob Yates took two superb low catches to remove Daniel Bell-Drummond and Jack Leaning, Rhodes made no mistake to oust Joe Denly and Jordan Cox, having defied for just over an hour for 29, edged to Sam Hain. When skipper Sam Billings decided too late to leave a ball from Hannon-Dalby and deflected it on to his middle stump, it was 99 for 7.

Compton and Evison dug in deep, the former enhancing his remarkable first-class batting average of 58, but were parted in the first over after tea when Compton edged Chris Rushworth and Yates took yet another excellent slip catch, this time fast and high and particularly impressive as he saw the ball very late with wicketkeeper Michael Burgess standing up to the stumps.

That left Kent’s last two wickets with 36 overs to survive, and they came gallantly close to achieving it before the depth and quality of Warwickshire’s refurbished seam attack had the final say.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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