If Day 1 of this 4 day County Championship had been a bad day at the office for Kent Day 2 must have seemed like an interminable chore for them. Essex started the day on 107 for 2 with Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara at the crease.
Due to the nature of the day this ‘episode’ is going to be more Phlog than Blog.
Both Westley and Bopara have had some good knocks this season, Bopara as white ball captain had made 81 against Kent in the T20 match on the Friday before this game started and 70 in the Royal London Cup game; something of a nemesis for Kent in 2016.
This match would see a fair list of batsmen Kent would rather not see again – Westley and Bopara put on a batting display, no matter what Kent threw at them runs were made.
Their partnership was 169, not that far short of Kent’s first innings, they were in the middle for hours on what was a glorious summer day. Westley was the first to fall, having made 88 he was caught by debutant wicket keeper Callum Jackson after he edged a ball from Mitch Claydon. Essex had moved on to 276 for 3.
Jaik Mickleburgh joined Bopara who in a fine innings was edging towards his century, a ball from the experienced Darren Stevens went skywards to Sean Dickson who took an easy catch to dismiss Bopara on 94. So close yet so far! Essex were on 298 for 4.
Next up was Daniel Lawrence, not 19 until July 12th he was named as England’s Young Player of The Year. This is a batsman who seems to bat with no fear, he scores runs and he scores them quickly! He has an array of both beautiful classical shots and some of the less orthodox, both are hugely effective for him.
Mickleburgh was the next to fall, he’d batted for a patient 99 minutes, facing 66 balls, he was caught by James Tredwell from the bowling of Adam Ball for 24, his partnership with Lawrence had seen Essex move to 357 for 5. A decent lead was building, it was clear Essex were hoping to build a total that meant they wouldn’t have to bat twice.
Ryan ten Doeschate joined Lawrence and the two took up where Wesley and Bopara had left off. Lawrence played an innings that belied his tender years making 88 including 12 fours before he was caught and bowled by Joe Denly. The day was close to finishing and Essex were on 458 for 6.
James Foster came in next keeping ten Doeschate company until the end of the day, the captain finished not out 77, Foster on 3 and their team on 480 for 6.
I can only begin to imagine how that day must have been for Kent as they saw 4 batsmen score in excess of 75, it must have been somewhat soul destroying!