BBC BLOGS - Test Match Special
« Previous | Main | Next »

Kent pay price for indisciplined batting

Blog Editor | 19:45 UK time, Saturday, 16 August 2008

By Simon Mann at Lord's

Grant Flower, the oldest man on the pitch, transformed a tense final into a comfortable canter for a buoyant Essex team as Kent paid for their careless batting.

Flower was not the obvious match-winner coming into the game but he has played more one-day internationals than anyone on either side and he used that experience to wrestle the match away from Kent.

Alastair Cook's bizarre downfall against Robbie Joseph had put Kent on top for the first time in the game. Flower immediately took his only liberty, driving a good length ball over extra cover to get off the mark.

Danish Kaneria was in the wickets for Essex

But from there he reigned himself in, reasoning that if he batted through to the end Essex would win. It was not spectacular but his ruthless professionalism contrasted sharply with Kent's earlier indiscipline.

Justin Kemp and Darren Stevens will not be proud of their dismissals but neither can compete with Azhar Mahmood's preposterous stroke against Danish Kaneria - a tame, lofted drive against the spin straight to Flower at long off when judicious retrenchment was required.

It was the sort of shot that makes a captain scrub your name of the team sheet for the next match. Think Kevin Pietersen at Edgbaston and double it. Azhar though has the all-rounder's luxury of making up for it with the ball and his dismissals of Mark Pettini and Jason Gallian at least gave his team a chance.

It would have been worse for Kent if umpire George Sharp had given out Martin van Jaarsveld leg before to Graham Napier from the first ball he faced. It looked plum. Sharp had an undistinguished day, also giving Ravi Bopara was out lbw to a ball that was going over the top.

Many players have been picked for England on the basis of a good performance in a Lord's final. The selectors try to do it a little more scientifically these days but the big match in front of a large crowd does test a player's temperament.

None of the England qualified players on display significantly improved their international chances although James Foster took a good catch standing up to the new ball and played a sensible supporting role in the vital fifth wicket stand with Flower.

Foster's wicketkeeping is very much his strongest suit. His one blemish was watching Ryan McLaren's edge fly between him and Gallian at slip. It could have been costly with McLaren, who top-scored with 63, on nought at the time.

Another England hopeful, Joe Denly, played two sweet strokes before receiving a decent ball from Napier that defeated his ambitious shot. He was bowled through the gate by one that came back down the slope.

The charm of these occasions lies in the unexpected success of an unsung player. Flower did the job with the bat while seam bowler David Masters bowled a fine spell with the new ball to set Kent back at the start of their innings. A match against a former county - Masters once played for the men from Canterbury - has a habit of inspiring players .

Kent, probably a stronger team on paper, lacked the same edge. They played well in losing the Twenty20 final; here they let themselves down.


  • Comment number 1.

    As a Kent supporter, I think your blog is a very fair summary of the game. Throughout the competition, Kent have looked the stongest One Day Team - but today they let themselves down badly giving by far their worst performance of the year.

    As for the umpiring, I would also add that Rob Key himself looked very unfortunate indeed to be given out . I would also say that this is the first time Denley has not produced for kent on the big stage so I don't think it was pressure that got to him - he absorbs that very well indeed - but rather an overambitious shot.

    I had hoped for much better - this being now the 7th succesive final that we have been the bridesmaid but on the day Essex more than deserved their triumph, so I hope they will accept this kent fans sincere congrats on their achievment. Well done and as my days of following Kent go back to the early 50's I know that one day we shall again win at Lords!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Sky disagree with you guys on the McLaren edge through slip being Foster's fault and so do I. They believe that it was the captain's fault for having Gallian at a second slip position instead of a first slip which is where the ball went. That would have been an easy snaffle for the first slip position. You are blaming Foster for something that was not his fault.

  • Comment number 3.

    Cook's footwork still very poor.

    Bopara plays on the walk, which usualy gets found out at top level.

    And Key still has all the old technical faults he had when he last played for England - goodness knows why he is in so many people's sides.

    Denly didn't stay in long enough to allow an impression to be formed.

    England need more reliable batting and there was no sign in this match of where it is going to come from!

  • Comment number 4.

    "marginalcomment" - living up to your name: this was a county match, not an England trial.

  • Comment number 5.

    "Think Kevin Pietersen at Edgbaston and double it." That sentence does not display the language of Cardus. I suggest you read some of his work.

  • Comment number 6.

    Marginalcomment stated that Cook, Bopara have various technical faults in their batting and Key still has the same faults as when he last played for England.

    However having some technical fault in one's batting is what makes batting in cricket what it is an art-form, as it individualises the style and characteristics of the style,play of each batsmen and what makes them differ from each other.

    I don't believe that there is such a player even at Test Match Level who has no faults whatsoever in their style of batting. Someone like a Graham Gooch always had a fault of playing across the line of the ball to away swinging balls that were aimed at the leg-middle stump. David Gower had the same problem as Alastair Cook has of at times wafting loosely at a bals aimed outside the off-stump and being caught behind. Even a batsman like a Barry Richards who is generally acknowledged to have a wonderful gift for the art of batting, himself admitted on TV in 2003 during the England V South Africa Oval test match that he had a technical fault in his batting of his head leaning and falling over to the off-side too much leading too many mistiming strokes at deliveries that were aimed at his perceived weakness at around the leg stump area.

  • Comment number 7.

    it is ridiculous for gboycottnutt to compare the great david gower to a mediocre player like alistair didn,t matter how many times gower wafted outside his off stump,he was just a fantastic batter and a joy to watch.the way gooch and co conspired to leave him out the test side was an absulute disgrace.when you think of how many average middle order batsmen we have now,collingwood,bell and makes you yearn for those wonderful goweresque days.

  • Comment number 8.

    James Foster's glove work in Saturday's final was simply outstanding. It is a disgrace that he has been excluded from the England set up for so long because in comparison, Prior and Ambrose are simply second rate!

    Also, doesn't Graham Napier deserve a chance. at least in the 20/20? He is a much improved bowler who can bat a bit!

  • Comment number 9.

    Re Flower's innings: it is "reined" in, not "reigned" in. A small point but one worth making I feel. Well done Essex.

  • Comment number 10.

    Great report Simon - it was a superb match - great avertisement for the game

    just one thing - 'indisciplined? there ain't no such word ...
    indiscipline, or undisciplined...


  • Comment number 11.

    Ware didd u go to skool?

  • Comment number 12.

    simons pore english is getting disd, shame!


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.