46-year-old Darren Stevens and South African international George Linde scored twin centuries and put on a partnership of 264 for the fifth wicket as Kent recovered from a tricky position of 95-4 to 418/6 at stumps on Day 1 of the 1st 4 Day encounter against Sri Lanka Emerging XI at Canterbury.
Sri Lanka Emerging XI : Nipun Dananjaya, Lasith Croospulle, Nuwanidu Fernando, Santhush Gunathilake, Ashen Bandara, Nishan Madushka, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Yasiru Rodrigo, Dilum Sudeera, Nipun Malinga, Udith Madushan
After winning the toss, Kent skipper Jack Leaning decided to bat first as Marcus O’Riordan & Tawanda Muyeye came out to face the brand-new red cherry. Udith Madushan and Under 19 World Cup 2022 alumni Yasiru Rodrigo shared the honours of opening the bowling for Sri Lanka Emerging XI. The left arm medium pacer Rodrigo drew first blood for the Emerging XI as Muyeye edged one behind to keeper Nishan Madushka for just 5. English test cap Joe Denly arrived in the middle as the number 3 for the hosts and shared a 54-run stand for the 2nd wicket before Sri Lankan T20I cap Dhananjaya Lakshan struck with just his 3rd delivery of the match to remove Denly who was looking good on 35.
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Skipper Jack Leaning walked out as the number 4 and just when Leaning and O’Riordan were settling in Lakshan dismissed O’Riordan for 31 by trapping him leg before. Skipper Leaning departed shortly after to give Madushan his first wicket of the day for 22.
At this point Kent were 95 for 4 and Sri Lanka Emerging XI were well in front, riding on the momentum of taking 4 wickets inside the first 35 overs. But the experience of Kent senior statesman Stevens and the class of the Proteas leg spinning all-rounder Linde was a bit too much for the visitors as they hammered the young bowling attack to all parts of the ground to amass 264 runs for the fifth wicket in just 250 deliveries. Udith Madushan finally ended the onslaught of Stevens and Linde as he disturbed the off stump of Stevensfor 168 off 142 deliveries including 24 fours and 6 sixes.
Billy Mead came out to bat on his first-class debut as the number 7 batter and Linde continued to dominate proceedings as he crossed the 100-run mark to register his 5th first class century. A few overs later, Ashen Bandara managed to remove Linde as the second centurion of the day walked back to the pavilion after scoring 107 off 141 which included 11 fours and 2 sixes. Linde was the last breakthrough of the day for Sri Lanka emerging XI as Billy Mead and Hamidullah Qadri took Kent safely through to stumps as they ended the day on 418 for the loss of 6 wickets. For Sri Lanka emerging XI Udith Madushan and Dhananjaya Lakshan took 2 wickets each while Yasiru Rodrigo and Ashen Bandara took 1 wicket.
Day 2 of the encounter will resume Tomorrow at 3.30PM (SL Time)