Kent toured Manchester to face Lancashire in the 2007 Division One County Championship at the Oval Trafford. There was a 3-week break after this match as the Twenty20 Cup will be filling the gap. Kent played six matches ahead of this fixture out of which they won two and lost two. On the other hand, the Lancashire team won only one of their first six matches. However, the remaining five matches ended in a draw to keep Lancashire unbeaten before they faced Kent.
The home team elected to bat first but only 50 overs of play was possible on the first day. They batted aggressively on the second day scoring 287 runs from 62 overs as Brad Hodge smashed an unbeaten 156 from 200 balls. Lancashire was a start-studded side for this match as James Anderson and Muttiah Muralitharan played together with Hodge and their skipper Stuart Law. They declared their innings at the score of 451/5 in two days.
Then toast, now gravy!
Murali and Anderson claimed four and three wickets respectively while Dominic Cork picked up a couple to bowl Kent out for 272 in 88.4 overs. With a lead of 179 runs in the hand, the home team enforced the follow-on with two overs left on the 3rd day. Lancashire had to come over the possibility of the rain on the final day to earn a victory. Luckily, the grey clouds didn’t bring any rain on the 4th day morning as they left Kent to 58/3.
Martin van Jaarsveld and Darren Stevens needed a stay at the wicket for at least a session or so to avoid a defeat. But the Kent team seemed to have got lucky shortly after the lunch break as fire alarms at the ground went off. Two fire engines had arrived at the scene only to find out the alarms rang due to a smoldering gravy (a burnt gravy pot) in the kitchen. However, according to a fire officer, it wasn’t the first time the venue had recorded such an instance.
“It happened before this season when one of the players burnt his toast in the dressing room,” a fire officer said. “Apparently this time it’s the gravy.”
The gravy couldn’t save Kent!
Though the gravy break didn’t last long enough, the pair of Jaarsveld and Stevens was doing a fair bit of job to save Kent from a defeat. The duo added exactly 100 runs in only 74 minutes but seven overs after the gravy break, Stevens was run out scoring a quickfire 55 from 63 balls. This dismissal triggered a collapse as none of the remaining batsmen reached double digits. At 189/6, the match was still in the hands of Kent as Jaarsveld was batting on 85 and Andrew Hall on six.
This time, bad-light threatened to stop the match but Lancashire introduced left-arm spinner Gary Keedy to pair up with Muralitharan. The duo picked up two wickets apiece of the last four wickets which fell in the space of 21 balls for just one run. Lancashire got a target of 12 runs after bundling out the opposition to 190. They completed the victory in 2.5 overs for the loss of both their openers.
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