Darren Stevens fifty puts Kent in strong position at Leicestershire


Parkinson takes 5-41 to claim nine for the match but hosts face big deficit

Kent 232 and 210 for 9 (Stevens 55*, Parkinson 5-41) lead Leicestershire 109 (Logan 3-9) by 333 runs

Kent did not register a win in the conference segment of the LV=Insurance County Championship but are in a strong position to remedy that at the halfway stage of their opening divisional fixture against Leicestershire.

On a turning pitch, Callum Parkinson, the Leicestershire left-arm spinner, took 5 for 41, yet at 210 for 9 in their second innings when bad light curtailed the second day with 22 overs unbowled, Kent had built a lead of 333.
Chief contributor was the veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens with a masterful unbeaten 55 after Jack Leaning had added 34 to his first-innings 75 not out and Jordan Cox made 38.

Earlier, Leicestershire had been dismissed for 109, the wickets shared mainly between seamers Grant Stewart and Matt Milnes, who took three apiece, and another left-arm spinner, 23-year-old James Logan, who returned 3 for 8 from 8.1 overs in his second first-class match for Kent after being released by Yorkshire last autumn.

Five down for 66 overnight, Leicestershire achieved their objective of avoiding the follow-on but lost the remainder of their wickets within an hour and a half.

Milnes dismissed Louis Kimber and Ben Mike in his first two overs, both lbw. Logan claimed his second and third successes as Leicestershire lost their last three wickets in the space of 12 balls, Parkinson given out leg before and Chris Wright top-edging a paddle-sweep gently to second slip. In between, Will Davis edged Stewart to third slip.

Ed Barnes was Leicestershire’s top scorer with 22 not out, an innings interrupted by a bang on the head from a short ball by Milnes that saw him leave the field for concussion checks. Happily, he was cleared to return at nine wickets down, confirming his well-being by hitting Stewart for back-to-back fours.

With Zak Crawley looking in good touch, Kent added 49 to their lead in 15 overs without loss but the introduction of Parkinson’s at the pavilion end brought an immediate dividend for the home side as a beautiful delivery took the England batsman’s off stump. Joe Denly was leg before to Mike and Parkinson quickly picked up a second wicket as Cox edged to slip.

As Parkinson changed ends, Barnes had Sam Billings caught behind with his first ball and bowled Ollie Robinson, reducing Kent to 142 for 5 but by the time rain forced an early tea the lead was 271.

The final session brought two more wickets each for Parkinson and Barnes but 45-year-old Stevens drew on all his experience to hit a six and nine fours in an innings of controlled positivity that may be decisive in the match.

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