County Championship: Darren Stevens bowls Kent to verge of victory against Surrey

Darren Stevens
Darren Stevens, 43, is out of contract at the end of this season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (day three):
Surrey 271-9: Elgar 63; Podmore 3-42 & 179-6: Elgar 65, Burns 41; Stevens 4-46
Kent 369: Denly 88, Crawley 69, Bell-Drummond 64; S Curran 3-56, Clarke 3-64
Surrey (5 pts) lead Kent (7 pts) by 81 runs with four wickets remaining

Veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens took four wickets as Kent reduced Surrey to 179-6 in their second innings to close in on victory at The Oval.

The 43-year-old removed Mark Stoneman early on when Surrey began their second innings trailing by 98.

Stevens also picked up the wickets of Ben Foakes and Dean Elgar, who scored his second half-century of the match.

The South African's spirited 65 helped Surrey remain in the contest at the end of day three but their lead is just 81.

Despite Elgar's efforts, Stevens was the undoubted star of the day.

Earlier he scored a useful 29 as Kent struggled to 369 all out from their overnight score of 285-4.

However, it was the heroics with the ball that has Kent on the verge of a third County Championship win of the season.

Stevens (4-46) had Stoneman caught behind and, although Rory Burns (41) and Elgar rallied, two wickets in two balls by Matt Milnes (2-38) left Surrey on 107-3.

Medium-pacer Stevens struck again, finding the outside edge of Foakes' bat with a classic outswinger and he then trapped Elgar and Jamie Smith lbw.

Sam Curran (22 not out) and Rikki Clarke (19 not out) guided Surrey to the close without further damage, but Kent remain on top.

Surrey opener Dean Elgar told BBC Radio London:

"We're a little disappointed in losing a cluster of wickets near the end there. My partnership with Rory Burns was important to get us past their lead, but we'll need to extend our lead by plenty in the morning.

"It hasn't been easy batting out there but that's first-class cricket and Kent aren't here to make it any easier for us. If you're patient, you'll get rewards.

"The big goal is to try and bat to lunch and then reassess and potentially have a crack at Kent if the pitch deteriorates."

Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens:

"We're in a very strong situation. We've just got to do the basics right in the morning. But they have two lads in now, in Rikki Clarke and Sam Curran, who can take the game away from you, if we get one of them early we will really be in the game.

"You expect a really good batting pitch at The Oval with good bounce but this hasn't been that way from day one as most of the nick's haven't carried. Their lads have been moaning about it but we'll just get on and play the pitch.

"I'm not that interested in the five-for but I have got my eye on 500 career wickets. I'm about 15 away, and that would be a huge achievement. I still love the game. I'm still competing, so I'll ride this train for as long as I can."

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