8:11pm Saturday 25th May 2013
BEN Foakes and James Foster steered Essex to a draw in their LV=County Championship Division Two contest with Kent at Chelmsford.
The pair put on an unbroken 142-run partnership for the sixth wicket in 48 overs to lead Essex to 166 for five after they had slipped to 24 for five and seemed odds-on to give Kent their first win of the four-day season.
Kent's hopes were hit by Foakes' unbeaten 86 and Essex captain James Foster was a more than capable foil as he finished on 52 not out at the close, with the pair gradually wearing down the visitors' attack.
Mark Davies had set up hopes of a Kent success when he produced a wonderful spell of medium-pace bowling that brought him four top-order wickets at a personal cost of six runs as the home side started their second innings in disastrous fashion.
Five wickets fell in 22 balls as they capitulated to a perilous 24 for five - still 60 runs short of making Kent bat again. Tom Westley was the first to go, caught behind for 17 out of the 20 runs on the board when Davies found the edge.
In the same over, Ravi Bopara completed a pair when dismissed by Davies for the second time in the match after pushing at a delivery that found height and Sam Northeast took a tumbling catch at gully diving forward.
Davies then struck twice in three balls during his next over with the total on 24. Mark Pettini gloved a catch to first slip, then Ryan ten Doeschate also edged a catch into the cordon.
Opener Jaik Mickleburgh, having batted 49 minutes for three, was the next to depart when he edged behind to give Charlie Shreck some reward for a fine spell of line and length bowling.
Still 60 runs behind and with 61 overs minimum still to be bowled, the home side were staring at the cold face of defeat.
But Foakes and Foster rebuilt the wreck of the innings with sound technique and resourceful application before the captains eventually shook hands on a draw with 13 overs still available as Kent took eight points from the clash, with Essex settling for seven.
At the start of the day, Darren Stevens soon added the nine runs he required to reach his hundred, the fourth time in his last five championship innings at Chelmsford that the all-rounder has recorded a century.
Kent added a further 82 runs to their overnight total to reach 296 all out, with Stevens reaching 136 before he fell to Bopara.
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