Bob Willis Trophy: Rikki Clarke puts Surrey’s game in balance against Kent

Rikki Clarke
Rikki Clarke has taken five or more wickets in a first-class innings eight times
Bob Willis Trophy, Kia Oval (day three):
Kent 342 & 118-9: Cox 32; Clarke 5-15, S Curran 3-35
Surrey 278: Foakes 118; Stevens 3-45, Milnes 3-55, Podmore 3-61
Kent (6 pts) lead Surrey (5 pts) by 182 runs with 1 wicket remaining

Rikki Clarke took three wickets for just one run in his first three overs, and 5-15 overall, to bowl Surrey back into their Bob Willis Trophy clash with Kent at the Kia Oval.

At 118-9 in their second innings, Kent lead by 182, but the third day of a fascinating contest was turned completely on its head by veteran all-rounder Clarke – with help from Sam Curran and Matt Dunn – and Surrey will now fancy their own chances of a first win following three defeats in their first three games.

It was a remarkable effort by Clarke, who was reportedly carrying an injury niggle into this game and only made a late decision to play.

Curran took 3-35 as Kent collapsed initially from 63-1 to 69-5 in mid-afternoon, and then again from 100-5 after a mini-recovery was staged by Grant Stewart and Marcus O’Riordan.

By tea, Kent had slid to 102-8, and after a short shower, Curran had Matt Milnes leg-before with a superb inswinger.

Rain, however, then returned and allowed just 5.1 more overs to be bowled after the tea interval.

The drama of the third innings began with Kent’s acting captain Daniel Bell-Drummond scoring his side’s first 18 runs before Curran, operating from around the wicket, skidded one into his pads to have him leg-before during a morning session which began with Surrey bowled out for 278 after resuming their first innings on 239-7.

Earlier in the day, Ben Foakes’ first county red-ball hundred since 2017 could not prevent Kent from earning themselves a first innings lead of 64.

Foakes, on 88 overnight, was last out for 118 as it took Kent 17.4 overs to finish Surrey off, with the last two wickets falling in the first two overs with the second new ball.

Adam Finch added just a single before being pinned in front by Harry Podmore for 10, in the morning’s sixth over, but Foakes went to the 10th first-class hundred of his career with a sweetly-timed cover boundary off Stevens, and he also punched Podmore straight for his 17th four before Milnes and Stewart wrapped up the innings in successive overs.

Milnes, with the fourth ball with the second new ball, had Dunn leg-before and Foakes, having faced 188 balls and batted for just short of five hours, tried to run a short ball from Stewart to third man and edged to Cox at slip.

Match report supplied by PA Media.

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