Kent’s Grant Stewart starred with bat and ball on day one
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence (day one):
Kent 241: Rouse 42; Fuller 4-86
Middlesex 54-9: Eskinazi 25; Stewart 5-21
Middlesex (3 pts) trail Kent (4 pts) by 187 runs
Scorecard

Middlesex collapsed to 54-9 in their first innings against Kent on a day when both batting line-ups struggled.

Grant Stewart took 5-21 as the visitors ended day one on 54-9, 187 behind.

Earlier, Harry Podmore (32) and Stewart (38) added runs late in Kent’s innings before James Fuller (4-86) pegged them back to 241 all out.

But Middlesex failed to seize the initiative with the pink ball under the floodlights, with only Stevie Eskinazi (25) getting to double figures.

The hosts had struggled in daylight in their first innings after winning the toss and choosing to bat, as they slipped from 99-3 to 114-6 in six overs.

However, Stewart led the way with a more dramatic flurry of wickets when the sun began to set during Middlesex’s reply.

Kent all-rounder Grant Stewart:

“I’m speechless and don’t know quite how to react, but it feels great to be on the right side of this game after day one. My first over wasn’t the best because I didn’t quite my lines right, but I soon settled into a rhythm and find some good areas.

“You have to take it as it comes in these sort of games. This is the first pink-ball game for me, but I’ve seen blokes like Jimmy Anderson hoop it around with the pink ball and this was a swing bowlers evening.

“The ball was still doing a bit towards the back end of our innings and I knuckled down at first. Once Adam Rouse got out I had licence to go for it, I had a bit of a swing and managed to get a couple away. They were useful runs and helped getting a batting point, which might be useful down the line.”

Middlesex skipper Dawid Malan:

“I can’t quite understand why the two divisions are using different balls. It’s still county cricket and we have guys out here with aspirations to play international cricket, so to have different balls seems strange as we don’t do that in red-ball cricket. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“It was doing so much at the end there that we actually did quite well to nick a few. We’re behind in this game and we’ll have to find a way to fight our way back into it.

“We had a really good win last week, we’re positive in our abilities to adapt and we’ll have a think about the best approach from here on. I thought we were competitive with the ball, we maybe let them have 60 too many, but credit Kent. Their bowlers did exceptionally well to put the ball in the right areas and they had a better day either way.”


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