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Lewis on fire again as Somerset stun Kent

Kent lost their last eight wickets inside 46 minutes as Specsavers County Championship leaders Somerset dodged the showers to clinch a dramatic 10-wicket win on a rain-affected final day in Canterbury.

Having already lost the first and third days of this first division match to bad weather, Somerset feared any potential victory dash would be thwarted by yet more rain as showers returned to wipe out a further 33 overs of the fourth and final morning.

However, the clouds finally moved on and the drizzle abated enabling a 1.45pm re-start that inspired Somerset and Lewis Gregory in particular.

Fresh from a first-innings career-best of six for 32, Gregory mopped up five for 21 as Kent’s last eight wickets fell for 27 runs in the space of 62 balls.

Resuming their second innings of 24 for two from day two of the game – an overall match deficit of six runs – Kent soon found themselves in even deeper in trouble.

The hosts were only two runs ahead overall when Harry Podmore, Kent’s night watchman, played back and across the line to Jack Brooks and became the 11th leg before victim of the game.

Gregory then grabbed centre stage with three more quickfire wickets to secure best-ever match figures of 11 for 53.

Gregory had Daniel Bell-Drummond, Heino Kuhn and Alex Blake all caught in the slip cordon, while Jamie Overton chipped in by having Sean Dickson caught at slip for 22.

Ollie Robinson and Darren Stevens moved Kent’s score beyond their all-time lowest total against Somerset – 55 scored at Tonbridge in 1926 – before Stevens and Grant Stewart both fell lbw in a double-wicket maiden from Craig Overton.

Gregory duly landed the coup de grâce and took deserved possession of the match ball by having Robinson well caught by keeper Steve Davies off a thick inside edge.

Kent’s capitulation left Somerset to score 30 for their fifth win of six starts, which openers Azhar Ali and Tom Abell achieved at the canter within 40 balls and without loss of wickets.

Somerset banked 19 points while Kent took only three from their fourth defeat of the season.

After the match Tom Abell praised his new-ball bowlers: “We still felt there was plenty of time left in the game despite losing so much to rain and once again our bowling attack proved just how good they are.

“Lewis will take the plaudits for five today and 11 in the match, and rightly so, he was magnificent, but as a unit they work so well together and compliment each other. I’m so lucky as a captain to have those four guys running in for me.

“It was difficult to bat out there for sure and sometimes batters can simply get caught up in the pace of the game. It was tricky, but we’d have liked a slightly bigger lead than 30, but it wasn’t to be. Within that total Tom Banton was phenomenal once again. To get 60 under those circumstances was outstanding for such a young player.

“Going into today, we felt it was game on even though all results were still possible. The boys really took onus this morning and bowled fantastically well. To dismiss them for 59 was testament to that group.”

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