|Bob Willis Trophy, Kia Oval (day one):|
|Kent 295-8: Stewart 58; Curran 3-65|
|Surrey: Yet to bat|
|Kent 2 pts, Surrey 2 pts|
Sam Curran returned from England Test duty to claim three wickets for Surrey, but a lower-order revival got Kent back into day one of their Bob Willis Trophy fixture at the Kia Oval.
Kent were in a perilous position at 170-6 but rallied to reach stumps on a far more respectable 295-8.
Grant Stewart made 58 and Harry Podmore scored a fine 42-ball 47 to add 73 runs for the seventh wicket.
After Podmore’s dismissal, Stewart then put on 49 with Matt Milnes (22 not out) before falling shortly before the close.
Kent had battled hard to get to 56-1 by lunch, with Daniel Bell-Drummond being joined by Jack Leaning in a second-wicket partnership of 58 in 25 overs.
Opener Jordan Cox had gone in the ninth over, leg before to a Matt Dunn yorker, and Leaning eventually went for 21, chipping Curran to mid-on off a leading edge in the sixth over after lunch.
Kent looked well placed when they were 97-2 in mid-afternoon before Surrey fought back as Adam Finch had Bell-Drummond lbw for 45 and Ollie Robinson fell in the same manner for 17 to Curran.
But the visitors rallied and Marcus O’Riordan reached 30 from 65 balls while veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens made 24, before edging Rikki Clarke to Ben Foakes behind the stumps, as the pair led a counter-attack with a stand of 55 in 13 overs.
And then, after O’Riordan had thin-edged Curran to Foakes after tea, Podmore played an excellent knock that included six fours and a big six sweetly struck into the new Peter May Stand construction site off Amar Virdi.
Stewart also drove Virdi for a straight six and hit five fours in his 103-ball innings, but was bowled leg stump when he went down the pitch to the off-spinner and missed an attempted lofted drive.
On-loan Worcestershire paceman Finch had to wait until deep into the final session to get his second scalp when Podmore carved a delivery to backward point.
Surrey fast bowler Matt Dunn:
“It’s a big first half-hour for us. We need to knock over their last two wickets and then get stuck in with the bat. It’s a lot easier to bat when the shine’s off the ball so we think we are still very much in this game.
“We worked very hard with the ball in the first two sessions, and we created a lot of chances in the first session without getting much reward.
“The rewards came after lunch but after tea Podmore came back at us a bit and we probably chased things for a while.”
Kent head coach Matt Walker:
“That was a really good day’s cricket, hard-fought all the way through. We had a decent first session, they came back to take the second session, then we fought back again after tea.
“Grant Stewart is someone we believe can become a genuine all-rounder and he showed here that he is a proper batsman. Although he’ll be a little bit annoyed with the way he got out late on, it was an excellent innings. He played the situation extremely well.
“Both Harry Podmore and Matt Milnes are frontline bowlers who have ability with the bat and, most importantly, they want to become better batsmen. At the moment they are scrapping over that No 8 slot, but I’m very pleased with the way they both played.”
Match report supplied by PA Media.