County Championship: Kent batsmen frustrate Surrey in draw

Surrey all-rounder Rikki Clarke had a fine game at Beckenham, making 123 with the bat and claiming match figures of 6-137 with the ball

Specsavers County Championship Division One, Beckenham (day four):
Surrey 439 & 280: S Curran 80, Borthwick 58; Milnes 4-74
Kent 294 & 352-8: Dickson 91, Kuhn 81, Mulder 68*; Clarke 3-67
Kent (10 pts) drew with Surrey (13 pts)

Kent batted out the whole of the final day against defending county champions Surrey to earn a draw at Beckenham.

The hosts resumed on 46-1 having been set an unlikely target of 426 and first-innings century-maker Sean Dickson led the way with 91.

Captain Heino Kuhn also made 81 before fellow South African Wiaan Mulder (68 not out) saw Kent to 352-8 and safety.

Surrey have now drawn their first three County Championship matches in 2019 and are 38 points behind leaders Somerset.

They still have a game in hand, at bottom side Warwickshire starting on Monday, before hosting Somerset at Guildford on 3 June.

But Surrey may be without England all-rounder Sam Curran, who pulled up before lunch with a suspected hamstring injury and was unable to bowl for the rest of the day.

It may not have made much difference against a Kent side that showed plenty of resilience with the bat once the target was out of reach.

Opener Dickson, who made 318 at Beckenham in 2017 and 128 on Tuesday, looked certain for another century when he was snaffled down the leg-side by the keeper off Rikki Clarke (3-67).

Kuhn was also caught behind when well set off Morne Morkel (3-86) to leave Kent 263-6 shortly after tea.

But battling knocks from Alex Blake, Darren Stevens and Harry Podmore in support of 21-year-old debutant Mulder staved off defeat for the hosts.

In the town where his mum was born . . .

Having followed his first-innings 128 to complete a haul of 219 in the match, Dickson has now made 663 runs in three visits to this ground, in his mother’s home town.

He made his first-class best score of 318 against Northants in 2017 – Kent’s highest post-war innings – and has also made two half-centuries.

In sequence, the Johannesburg-born English qualified batsman’s scores at Beckenham now read 63, 3, 318, 60, 128 and 91.

Kent all-rounder Wiaan Mulder:

“It was a good day for us, especially being one down overnight. We came here needing to defend all day to try and not get bowled out. I’m really proud of the guys to get a draw in these circumstances.

“It was a difficult afternoon and a good challenge but they were always going to come hard at us. If you crumble under that pressure you expose the tail-enders, so I just wanted to stay there and do it for the team.

“The South African contingent did really well with the bat overall. Sean Dickson played really well in both innings and Heino Kuhn got some useful runs too.”

Surrey coach Michael Di Venuto told BBC Radio London:

“The guys threw everything at it and I couldn’t have asked for more. But losing Sam Curran so early on didn’t help matters.

“We had a proper dip, but it just wasn’t to be. Numerous balls went past the edge all day but we didn’t get enough chances.

“There are a lot of good things to take from this game. Will Jacks’ first hundred under pressure was outstanding, and it’s good to see Scott Borthwick back in the team from injury and scoring runs.”

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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