Apr 212013

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Lv County Championship

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Rob Key scored an unbeaten century as Kent’s Division Two game against Leicestershire at Grace Road drifted to a draw after the home side were dismissed for 495 in their first innings an hour before lunch on the last day.

That gave Leicestershire a lead of 89, but with so little time left in the match there was no way for either side to fashion a positive outcome, and they had to settle for nine points each.

But it did enable Kent’s top-order batsmen to gain some more valuable time in the middle in their first LV= County Championship game of the season and, when the teams shook hands on the draw, the visitors had reached 213 for two.

Rob Key

Opening batsman Rob Key’s unbeaten century ensured a comfortable draw for Kent in a high-scoring game with Leicestershire at Grace Road

Key made up for missing out on a half-century in the first innings by scoring 104 while Brendan Nash added 62 to his earlier 50, confirming just how good the pitch had been for batting throughout the four days. In total 1,114 runs were scored for the loss of 22 wickets in the match.

Leicestershire, who were 452 for seven overnight, decided to bat on, and added another 43 runs in just under an hour. Shiv Thakor, resuming on 105, was out for 114, skying a catch to deep midwicket off Mark Davies.

A brisk unbeaten 24 by Ollie Freckingham accelerated the scoring rate and Matthew Hoggard was last man out for four.

Although he went out to bat, Leicestershire already knew that Hoggard would be unable to bowl in Kent’s second innings because of a hip injury that flared up on the first day. He is due to go for a scan next week.

Without the former England seamer to contend with, the Kent batsmen duly enjoyed themselves in the sunshine on a flat pitch.

Key reached his fifty off 124 balls while sharing an opening partnership of 74 with Sam Northeast, who was caught behind off Thakor for 32, and a second-wicket stand of 124 with Nash.

Nash posted his half-century off 71 balls with six fours, before edging Jigar Naik to slip, but Key carried on and drove Michael Thornely for his 11th boundary to reach his ton off 194 balls a few minutes before the teams shook hands on a draw.

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