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Hampshire v Kent - Match Report

Hampshire picked up an important final-day draw against Kent at the Ageas Bowl

Day One

Felix Organ celebrated his maiden first-class century as Hampshire ended on top at stumps on day one of their Specsavers County Championship fixture with Kent.

Academy graduate Organ, on just his third Championship appearance, showed a delightful mixture of defensive resolve with a pinch of flair to score exactly 100.

The 20-year-old, part of Hampshire’s fresh opening partnership, enjoyed sizeable partnerships with fellow opener Ian Holland and middle-order batsman Rilee Rossouw – who both collected half centuries of their own.

Although evening wickets with the second new ball gave Kent rewards for their toils, the hosts ended the day on 340 for six.

With James Vince and Sam Northeast away with England and England Lions respectively, Kyle Abbott stood in as Hampshire’s captain.

And the fast bowler won the toss and elected to bowl on an almost identical track to the one they scored 539 on against Warwickshire last week.

The new-look top order of Holland and Organ worked against Warwickshire a week ago, when Holland churned out his first professional hundred and this was Organ’s turn to prove his worth this time.

Together they saw off the new ball with relative ease, neither offering a chance, with Holland playing a series of glorious off-side shots.

While Holland played with a glimmer of attacking intent, Organ curbed his aggression – with his wicket prized more importantly than runs in the morning session.

Day Two

While the likes of Sam Northeast, Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley faced-off for the England Lions for a potential Ashes place, Joe Denly brilliantly scored a century for Kent against Hampshire.

Batsman Denly, who is currently the man in possession of the No.3 position in the England Test line-up, showed all his class by reaching his second Specsavers County Championship hundred of the season.

The 33-year-old put on 206 with Daniel Bell-Drummond, who scored a magnificent 94 of his own, as Kent approached first-innings parity.

The Denly and Bell-Drummond axis was the perfect encore to Darren Stevens’ 23rd first-class five-wicket haul, as the veteran had dominated the morning session with three wickets.

Stevens, who is 43 and playing in his 24th Championship campaign, followed up his two wickets with the new ball on the previous evening to prevent Hampshire from collecting maximum batting points.

Resuming on 340 for six under overcast skies which cleared throughout the day, Lewis McManus targeted the third man area with a number of early boundaries.

But the hosts could only score 69 runs in 19 overs as they somewhat slumped to 409 for nine before they declared.

Stevens had McManus caught behind for a well-made 49, before Kyle Abbott and Mason Crane departed in successive balls the former lbw and the latter caught at first slip.

The all-rounder ended with figures of five for 68, and took his first-class career tally to 491 scalps.

On a flat wicket, Kent never appeared in too much trouble and wickets came out the blue.

Abbott managed to get one to nip back to Sean Dickson, who was lbw without playing a shot, in the 13th over.

Jordan Cox, on his debut, was dropped on 18 at first slip by Ian Holland but only scored nine more runs before he edged Keith Barker behind.

But from then on Denly and Bell-Drummond scored runs at a steady rate, flirting at almost five runs and over throughout.

The Lions, which could be a shoot-out for an upper-order spot against Australia next month, are playing a four-day match against Australia XI at Canterbury this week, with the tourists batting the entirety of the first day.

Denly, who has only one Test appearance, sent his application in via postal vote.

His fifty came in 74 balls and his hundred, almost in the blink of an eye, arrived in 144 balls – with a two down to fine leg.

Denly, who passed 11,500 first-class runs in the innings, scored the majority of his 18 boundaries with attention-grabbing drives.

The one-time Denly was put in much danger was to a Crane delivery which spat across him, taking his edge, but stayed too low for McManus to get his gloves to.

He eased to 138 at stumps, with captain Heino Kuhn partnering him with 28 – as Kent closed on 319 for three, trailing by 90.

Day Three

A five-wicket haul for Fidel Edwards, his third of the Specsavers County Championship this season, was the highlight as Hampshire continued to battle against Kent at the Ageas Bowl.

The 37-year-old perservered admirably, alongside the whole Hampshire attack, to finish with 5-118 in the visitors' first-innings.

Darren Stevens and Heino Kuhn’s half-centuries, together with Joe Denly’s 150, batted Kent into a strong position as they claimed a first innings lead of 146 after being dismissed for 555.

Hampshire whittled that down to 27 at the close, losing day one centurion Felix Organ and Ajinkya Rahane in the evening session as Rilee Rossouw (37*) and Ian Holland (37*) navigated a tricky final period in the evening session.

Kent had begun the third day on 319 for three, Denly quickly moving to 150 in 221 balls, before falling four runs later when Keith Barker pinned him lbw.

Ollie Robinson and Grant Stewart fell in successive Edwards overs, as the West Indian showed excellent pace and agression with a yorker to bowl the former and a vicious in swinger into the pads for the latter.

Meanwhile, Kuhn, who had restarted the day on 28, cruised through the morning session and formed a partnership with Stevens – having taken in 76 balls for his fifty.

The duo put on 92 for the seventh wicket to take Kent into a healthy lead, while scoring at a free-flowing rate – as had typified the entire innings.

But he fell for 60 he was the next of Edwards’ five victims, when he was brilliantly caught at short leg by Aneurin Donald.

Edwards then struck Kuhn with three successive deliveries, in the midriff, head and back before crashing straight into the South African’s stumps; which made Kuhn, 95, the third player to fall in the 90s in the match.

Gareth Berg rounded off the innings when Rayner was cut caught at first slip and Matt Milnes toed to point.

With 39 overs left in the day, Hampshire attempted to shave off their deficit, and despite Organ falling lbw to Stevens and Rahane departing following a high quality 42, Rossouw and Holland looked assured in the final overs to ensure no further loss when reaching stumps.

Day Four

Hard-fought fifties for Ian Holland and Rilee Rossouw helped Hampshire secure a deserved drawin their Specsavers County Championship contest against Kent.

The duo, who have both featured prominently with the bat so far this month, were well-supported by Aneurin Donald and Keith Barker who also made key contributions.

After Hampshire had batted for the majority of the day before being dismissed for 298, the visitors were left needing a tantalising 153 from 17 overs.

But after Sean Dickson, Alex Blake and Daniel Bell-Drummond departed, Kent gave up the chase and shook hands after 50 balls – with the away side still requiring 96 runs.

Donald and Barker, who ended up on 43 and 37 not out respectively, battled through 30 overs to put the hosts on the brink of securing the draw.

Kent were given a late glimmer of hope, and some T20 practice, as they were given 17 overs to score 153.

But Sean Dickson slogged to long-off and Alex Blake, who replaced Heino Kuhn after he had been struck by a Edwards bouncer, both soon departed.

And when Bell-Drummond was bowled both sides decided to call it a draw.

The result means Hampshire remain a place above fifth placed Kent.

Holland and Rossouw had looked stable to put Hampshire on course for a draw at the start of a crazy day, adding 118 for the third wicket as both picked up their second half-centuries of the match.

Holland, who had scored 60 in the first innings, reached his fifty in 160 balls, while Rossouw, after his 90, needed 82 deliveries for a mature half-century.

But Denly and Rayner teamed up to end the partnership, rout through the Hampshire middle-order and completely change the complexity of the match in 25 balls.

Rossouw was the first to depart as he top edged a long-hop from Denly to pick out Daniel Bell-Drummond on the square-leg boundary.

In the next over Holland followed when he was adjudged to have edged Rayner behind to Ollie Robinson before Gareth Berg followed quickly after when he was lbw to a Denly googly.

But a rear-guard from Donald and Barker made a positive result less likely with a 30 over collaboration.

Matt Milnes ended the 63-run stand when Donald pulled to Bell-Drummond on the boundary, before Kyle Abbott was lbw to Denly.

Mason Crane jabbed to short leg and Fidel Edwards was caught behind as Hampshire were bowled out for 298.