Matt Critchley’s unbeaten 80 helped Essex reach 327-4 at stumps on the first day of their County Championship match with Kent in Canterbury. Alastair Cook 78 and Tom Westley 54 cashed in after Critchley was dismissed for six.
Grant Stewart had Kent’s most economical figures with 1-48, but the bowlers struggled to get going in a game that could prove vital to their hopes of avoiding relegation.
The contest looked to be even as Essex was reduced to 221-4, but Critchley’s unbeaten partnership of 106 with Feroze Khushi, who was not out on 46 at stumps, swung the momentum in the visitors’ favor. Returned.
Kent elected to bowl after winning the toss but struggled to create any chances despite the heavy cloud over the Spitfire ground.
Essex were 82 for no loss at lunch and enjoyed a break early in the afternoon session when Cook was dropped at slip after Stewart’s edge when they were on 44.
An opening stand of 101 ended when Matt Quinn took a quick return catch to remove Nick Brown for 45, but Cook and Westley put on 58 for the second wicket before the former sent Stewart to first slip. Ollie is made a victim of Robinson.
Dean Lawrence scored nine before his off-stump was yorked by Daniel Bell Drummond but Jack Lanning was denied a wicket when Critchley was dropped by Ben Compton at short leg, Essex 207-3 at tea. left from
Westley ran out shortly after the restart, as Critchley overtook Harry Podmore for third. After a comfortable two walks, Westley inexplicably headed for the wicketkeeper’s end, and when Sam Billings collected a throw from Joe Danley and broke the wicket.
Kent was well into the game at this point, but the visitors responded with another outstanding century stand, Khushi joining Critchley and looking at the new ball comfortably before batting from close range.