`

Durham coach Jon Lewis blames weather and lack of preparation for humbling Kent defeat

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis

Durham coach Jon Lewis said the bad weather in the build up to the start of their County Championship season was behind their humiliating defeat against Kent inside two days.

Matt Henry claimed career-best match figures of 12-73 to guide Kent to a comfortable victory over Durham in their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash at Emirates Riverside.

The New Zealand seamer dominated with the ball in both of the home side's innings. The 26-year-old notched five wickets on day one before returning with even better spell of bowling in the second. He tore through Durham's batting line-up, finishing with career-best innings figures of 7-45.

It allowed Kent to cruise to a nine-wicket victory as Durham looked woefully under-cooked.

Lewis admitted a lack of preparation was behind his side's poor start to the season.

“We certainly looked a bit shy of games," he said. "The batters looked shy of a hit in the middle or two.

"It probably showed up more today than it did on day one. Today it looked as though the batters were still playing on a day one wicket. They were looking for demons that weren't quite as large as they were on day one.

"There was less going on today and a couple of them were looking for something to happen and then were undone by that fact. They needed to be mentally tougher and part of that is being game hardened.

“We had four games, two and three-day games pencilled in for pre-season. We managed to play one day out of those games due to the weather.

"It wasn’t ideal and not being on grass didn’t help too much either. I don’t think we can lay everything on that we were not good enough between the ears when the batters were looking for things that weren’t quite as bad as they were on day one.

“There’s no substitute for playing on grass and there’s no substitute for playing games. That’s what we were a bit shy of. No excuses though – Kent played well. Matt Henry bowled beautifully and they were the deserved winners.”

The home side began the day 13-1 after losing Aiden Markram for a duck in the evening session on day one. Will Smith and Matthew Potts returned to the crease, with Smith dispatching the first ball of the day to the boundary. However, it was all downhill from that point as Smith was caught at slip by Sean Dickson for 12 off as Henry continued to torment Durham's batsmen. The New Zealander struck in his next over when he clean bowled Gareth Harte for one.

Kent's ability to apply pressure from both ends was integral to their success in the contest. Darren Stevens highlighted the point when he removed Graham Clark for a duck. Paul Collingwood arrived at the crease with his team in desperate need of a stoic knock from their skipper, but he lasted just deliveries before he edged Stevens behind the Heino Kuhn in the slip cordon.

After Smith's boundary off the first ball of the second morning the home side had lost 4 wickets in 3.5 overs, scoring just seven runs in the process. Michael Richardson edged Henry through the slips to notch a boundary. However, the 26-year-old had his revenge when Richardson knicked off behind from a brilliant ball. Stuart Poynter joined the collapse as he was adjudged lbw to the New Zealander, leaving Durham 39-7.

Resistance finally came from the hosts when Matthew Potts scored 36 with a composed knock at the crease. The 19-year-old had been the nightwatchman and remained in position until Durham had forced Kent to bat again. After his dismissal, James Weighell took centre stage and batted brilliantly with Nathan Rimmington. The pair put on 50 in 52 deliveries taking the north east side over the 100-run mark.

Henry returned to remove Rimmington for 25, but Weighell issued a response to take the attack to the visitors. He scored his third first-class fifty, reaching the milestone off 69 deliveries. Weighell's found the boundary with regularity, including three sixes, in his innings of 84, which was ended going for one shot too many off Henry, with Durham's advantage at 92.

Kent lost Sean Dickson for three early in their push for victory. Heino Kuhn (36*) survived a dropped chance, three inside edges and being bowled off a no ball to guide his team over the line with Daniel Bell-Drummond (45*) in a partnership of 91, securing the win by nine wickets.