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    Daniel Bell-Drummond and Ben Compton's centuries gave Essex a taste of their own medicine
Daniel Bell-Drummond and Ben Compton's centuries gave Essex a taste of their own medicine
Daniel Bell-Drummond was in the runs once more for Kent. Source: Getty Images

Daniel Bell-Drummond and Ben Compton's centuries gave Essex a taste of their own medicine

Daniel Bell-Drummond scored his second consecutive century in the Vitality County Championship, contributing to the high-scoring match on a placid Chelmsford pitch where only two wickets fell all day.

Last week, he reached three figures against Somerset at Canterbury and now he has helped his team recover with another century after enduring three and a half sessions of relentless fielding at Chelmsford.

Along with fellow centurion Ben Compton, Bell-Drummond put on 218 for the second wicket against an unresponsive Kookaburra ball, giving Essex a taste of their own medicine. Kent had knocked off 245 by the end of day two for the loss of only one wicket, with Bell-Drummond unbeaten on 134 and Compton on 100, needing 381 to make Essex bat again.

Matt Critchley's career-best 151 not out anchored Essex's 530 for 7 declared for 73 overs. Critchley's marathon innings lasted 212 balls and included four sixes and five fours.

Shane Snater claimed the first Kent wicket just before lunch when Tawanda Muyeye shouldered arms to one that went straight on and rapped his pad. It was the last wicket to fall.

Compton and Bell-Drummond batted doggedly, scoring at around two runs per over until the Kent captain hit Simon Harmer for a straight four and added another through midwicket in the same over. When Compton flicked Jamie Porter off his legs, Kent added 14 runs in just six balls. This marked a turning point as the batsmen became more aggressive.

Bell-Drummond reached his half-century from 99 balls with a push into the covers off Aaron Beard and then hit the same bowler through midwicket for his sixth boundary. Compton, who was dropped at slip on 20, batted for just under three hours to reach his fifty, which took up 147 balls.

When Critchley bowled outside off-stump, Compton played more aggressively and hit three boundaries in quick succession. As the evening session progressed in bright sunshine, the Essex attack began to struggle.

Bell-Drummond chopped the ball through the covers for three off Beard, scoring his 10th four and reaching a century in 168 balls. This shot also completed the 150-run partnership for the second wicket. He continued his dominance with a six over long leg and a full-toss for four off Critchley. Harmer also faced similar treatment, with Bell-Drummond hitting another maximum that disappeared into the distance.

Compton scored a century on the last ball of the day, batting for 237 minutes with 12 fours.

In the morning, Essex batted for 70 minutes, adding 109 runs and losing only the wicket of Harmer. They claimed full batting points before the declaration, leaving Kent's demoralised fielders and bowlers in misery. George Garrett was the only bowler who went at less than four runs an over, taking two for 80.

Critchley hit three sixes over long leg, including one out of the ground, in his record-breaking knock. He also shared half-century partnerships with Harmer and Snater. As the declaration approached, Critchley and Snater put on 52 runs from 28 balls, with Snater scoring 26 off just 16 balls.

Kent's only highlight of the morning came when 18-year-old spinner Jaydn Denly claimed his first first-class wicket, Harmer advancing down the wicket, swiping expansively and being stumped.

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