The start of the Championship campaign for these two counties has been very different. Gloucestershire are second in the table having completed impressive wins against Essex at Chelmsford and, last week, Lancashire at Old Trafford. Kent, however, have yet to register a victory and lie bottom of Championship Division Two, five points below bottom- placed Leicestershire.
Gloucestershire’s victory at Old Trafford was very much a team effort. There were contributions from most players, although quickies Craig Miles and Liam Norwell did most of the damage in bowling out the Red Rose county twice, taking 13 wickets between them. Chris Dent and Hamish Marshall continued their good form with the bat, Dent scoring his second century of the season in his team’s first innings.
Coach Richard Dawson will have been pleased with the compliment paid his side after that match by his Lancashire counterpart Ashley Giles when Giles said that he thought that Gloucestershire looked an organised side and played some good cricket.
Kent have drawn their last two games, both at Canterbury, after a defeats on their travels against Essex and Lancashire in their initial two outings. They narrowly failed to achieve a last day target against Leicestershire and had the better of last week’s game at Canterbury against Glamorgan. The visitors had to make 404 to win in the fourth innings but Kent fell one wicket short of victory, as the Welsh county finished on 309/9.
For Gloucestershire 24-year-old opening batsman Chris Dent has had a fine start to the season, scoring 402 Championship runs at 67 with two centuries and two 50s. After making his debut in 2010, Bristol-born Dent has not always lived up to his early promise; a career average in the lower 30s confirming a struggle for consistency. He is just one of the young Gloucestershire players who needs to make 2015 a breakthrough season if that promise is to be fulfilled. Early signs are encouraging.
Kent opening batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond is younger than Dent, he is not yet 22, and he too has shown rich promise which has yet to be fulfilled. Bell-Drummond has also made a good start to the season notching two 100s in his 321 runs at over 40. Like many successful West-country cricketers Bell-Drummond was educated at Millfield School and is rated by Kent stalwart Robert Key as sufficiently talented to be an England regular in the future.
Gloucestershire are involved in a T20 match at Hove on the day before the match so it is unlikely that any team selection will be made until the morning of the match.
Kent will be without Robert Key who is struggling for form and has temporarily withdrawn from first team action. The team will be captained by Sam Northeast.
Kent squad: Sam Northeast (c), Joe Denly, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Brendan Nash, Fabian Cowdrey, Darren Stevens, Sam Billings (wk), Calum Haggett, Matt Coles, Ivan Thomas, Adam Riley, Mitchell Claydon, Charlie Hartley.
Weather and conditions
The weather forecast for Bristol for the duration of the match is unsettled with rain dominating in the early part of the match. There is some hope of better weather on the fourth day.
Date: 18-21 May 2015.
Ground: The County Ground, Nevil Road, Bristol.
Umpires: Russell Evans and Richard Kettleborough
Odds (SkyBet): Gloucestershire 4/7, Kent 5/4