On the second day of Kent’s clash with Warwickshire, Ollie Robinson stood out as the 20-year-old made his maiden century in just his sixth first-class match.
Warwickshire then struggled to bat in the evening conditions that differed from the glorious sunshine Kent shone under.
There were early breakthroughs for Warwickshire in the morning session as the ‘’potential superstar’’ – as Ashley Giles labelled him – Henry Brookes picked up the first wicket of the day.
He removed the oldest man on the county circuit, Darren Stevens, for 23 as he looked to leave a ball which brushed the pads and caught him LBW. Ryan Sidebottom grabbed the other wicket of the session as he took his second wicket as he got one to crash into Harry Podmore’s pads to get him trapped LBW for six.
However, these two wickets didn’t manage to stall Kent in their tracks too much as Robinson and Tom Milnes continued to prosper in a great partnership, as they put on a 87-run partnership before Milnes fell in a dramatic dismissal. Jeetan Patel went up straight away for the LBW call, which was denied, but as the ball went through the keeper Tim Ambrose, Milnes got some bat on it and was caught at first slip by Will Rhodes.
Robinson was the stand out batsmen of the day as he played beautifully to notch his maiden first-class ton. The 20-year-old, homegrown player scored his century in 167 balls. He played magnificently throughout the evening on day one and continued that right into the afternoon session of day two before he was dismissed by some excellent glovework by Ambrose to stump him off the bowling of Patel for 143 from 228 balls.
It concluded an impressive innings to put Kent firmly in the driving seat on the brink of tea, as the visitors then declared on 504-9, setting Warwickshire a large first innings total.
Robinson showed that he is an excellent young talent, adding to the plethora of youthful encouraging talent on show, alongside Zak Crawley’s additional century yesterday and Warwickshire’s Brookes’ impressive bowling. Coming through the age group cricket and the academy at Kent, Robinson has been picked as the wicket-keeper over Adam Rouse and it’s clear the centurion was pleased with his efforts as he roared to an applauding Edgbaston crowd.
Kent took advantage of the depleted Warwickshire bowling attack, as they batted until the afternoon session of day two. Chris Woakes is absent from the squad with a knee injury and doesn’t expect to play much first-class cricket before the World Cup.
Olly Stone is set to begin his rehab process in the coming weeks, and is not expected to return until July at the earliest. Incoming Liam Norwell has also sustained an injury, same with Aaron Thomason, who potentially would have played in this game, and they are expected to be out for the next few weeks.
With Kent setting a hefty first innings total of 504, it was Warwickshire’s chance to reply on a pitch that looked to be suiting batsmen more and more by the minute.
However, they didn’t emulate Kent’s strong start as Rhodes fell in the 10th over when he wafted at a wide one outside of off stump to bottom edge it through to the keeper Robinson who continued his excellent day.
Warwickshire went into their first innings of the championship without the experience of Ian Bell, who he is absent with a foot injury until June. It was the Staffordshire born, 19-year-old Liam Banks who came in at three instead. It wasn’t to be though for the promising talent as he was the second man to fall for Warwickshire when edging Milnes’ first delivery of the match to second slip for just seven runs, leaving the hosts in some trouble at 36-2 off 14 overs.
Dom Sibley remained there through the early fall of wickets and steadied the ship with Sam Hain through till tea and into the evening session as they made a 48-run partnership. However, that stand was broken when Hain was dismissed for 17 to give Milnes his second wicket when he edged behind to Robinson, leaving Warwickshire on 84-3.
Sibley reached his half-century off 147 balls as he played the anchor role towards the end of the day to ensure that he was there in the morning. He reached a 50 partnership with Hose in the last over of the day to take Warwickshire to 123-3.
The evening conditions definitely favoured Kent more than Warwickshire as it proved tricky conditions to bat in, but Sibley and Hose saw out the evening for Warwickshire, and they will return tomorrow hoping to improve upon that platform set and emulate Kent’s batting performance.