Kent’s batting woes continued during the opening session to their Specsavers County Championship match in Tunbridge Wells where Nottinghamshire pacemen James Pattinson and Luke Fletcher bagged two wickets apiece.
Fresh from being skittled for 59 by Somerset last week, Kent limped into lunch on 105 for five after 29 overs as only Zak Crawley, with an unbeaten 54, made it into double figures at the start of this, the 107th Cricket Week in the Royal Spa Town.
Batting first after an uncontested toss and on a pitch showing some greenish tints following heavy weekend rain, Kent lost Sean Dickson to only the third ball of the game from Pattinson, the Australian Test bowler. Having got off the mark with a thick edge through the cordon to third man, Dickson drove with firm hands at a Pattinson leg-cutter to be caught behind by Tom Moores.
Joe Denly, in need of runs to push his case for inclusion in England’s Ashes squad, had only eight to his name when he went back to a good-length delivery from Pattinson, only work across the line and depart lbw after umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy upheld the appeal.
Though neither player looked totally secure, third-wicket partners Crawley and Daniel Bell-Drummond took Kent’s score on to 50 when Bell-Drummond (4) offered a low chance that Moores, the diving Notts keeper, failed to cling on to, much to the annoyance of Jake Ball, the bowler. In fairness to Moores, the edge would not have carried to slip.
Pattinson rested after a fine spell of 8-2-27-2 at The Nevill Ground’s Pavilion End, to be replaced by Fletcher who struck with his ninth delivery by snaring Bell-Drummond leg-before for nine.
Fletcher struck again four overs later, running one back through the gate of right-handed Heino Kuhn to defeat a crab-like defensive prod and peg back leg stump.
Crawley posted his 68-ball 50 with nine fours but Ball’s luck changed just before the break when he had Robinson caught on the drive after a game off pass-the-parcel by the slip cordon. The thick edge was initially dropped by Mullaney at third, parried by Joe Carter at second and eventually caught by Ben Duckett at slip.