Kent Fight Back Against Notts
Ryan Sidebottom continued to bowl like a Test lynchpin as Kent fought back against Nottinghamshire.
Ryan Sidebottom continued to bowl like a Test lynchpin – but no such thing could be said of his fellow England seamer Stuart Broad, as Kent fought back against Nottinghamshire.
The all-powerful home seam attack foundered on rearguard half-centuries from Ryan McLaren (57) and Yasir Arafat (67) in a Kent total of 238.
Nottinghamshire therefore had to wipe out an unexpected, albeit manageable, deficit – but by stumps on day two had already raced to 106 for two second time round, thanks to an unbeaten 50 from Matt Wood, in this topsy-turvy LV County Championship Division One match.
The might of Sidebottom and Broad dictated there was no place for Darren Pattinson – who took eight wickets in Nottinghamshire's landslide victory over these opponents at Canterbury last month.
But neither Broad, Sidebottom nor Charlie Shreck had any answer as McLaren's Kent best and Arafat combined in an eighth-wicket stand of 67.
Sidebottom (five for 55) remained a threat, sending down a morning spell of one for 11 in eight overs to go with his three wickets last night and one more this afternoon.
But Broad, part of the England attack successful against New Zealand this winter, finished with figures of one for 71 in 14 – a fair synopsis as he struggled to find his range and looked anything but a certain pick for next week's first Test against the Kiwis.
Kent's improvement with the bat was a remarkable turnaround from the hapless five for four they had shortly before the close of day one – when Sidebottom had found devastating swing to almost eliminate the top order.
The Yorkshireman was man of the series in New Zealand and is identified by Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori as the Englishman he fears more than any other for the impending start of the rematch.
On a glorious morning he made short work of opener James Tredwell, with trademark late swing to beat forward defence and clip the left-hander's off bail.
Broad never got into his stride.
After failing with an attempted direct hit from mid-on to run out Justin Kemp, his first over was dispatched for 10 – Geraint Jones cutting the first ball for four.
Broad hit back in his next over, getting rid of Kemp who nibbled at one shaping away to be caught at slip.
McLaren joined Jones in an encouraging partnership which ended when the ex-England wicketkeeper pushed forward to an innocuous delivery from Shreck which he might have left but swung away just enough to take the edge for caught behind.
That was the final ball before lunch, leaving McLaren to start the afternoon with Arafat his new partner – and in 18 overs they changed the momentum of the match.
McLaren profited mostly from Broad's vain pursuit of swing, driving impressively down the ground for the majority of his 10 fours from 102 balls.
Arafat tucked into Samit Patel's left-arm spin to get moving towards a 70-ball 50.
Along the way, he lost McLaren to an edge behind cutting at the third ball of a new spell from Mark Ealham.
Sidebottom, who narrowly failed in a manful attempt to pull off a one-handed diving catch at long-leg from Robbie Joseph's hook at Broad, returned to complete his five-wicket haul – again with the third ball of a new spell when the number 10 edged to slip.
Arafat finally went to Patel, picked up in classic fashion to the last ball of the afternoon when he too edged to slip to close the innings.
Opener Will Jefferson was gone before Nottinghamshire were back in credit – McLaren pinning him lbw on off-stump.
But number three Mark Wagh hit his first ball from McLaren through the off-side for four as runs flowed with a conspicuous ease which perhaps put Broad's struggles into a fairer context.
By the close, Wagh had gone lbw to an Arafat cutter – but Wood kept finding the boundary on his way to a maiden half-century for these employers, in what had become an intriguing contest.
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