Cricket: Middlesex’s Bamber enjoying County Championship challenge
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Middlesex seamer Ethan Bamber admits he is thoroughly enjoying the cut and thrust of County Championship Division Two cricket.
The teenager, who only made his first-class debut last month, has taken the new ball against Kent in their current match and picked up another wicket on Tuesday as the visitors were at one point reduced to 54-4 in pursuit of 156 for victory.
And Bamber, who took 2-31 from 15 overs in Kent’s first innings, said: “I expected Championship cricket to be a step up, which it is, but I just didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have so far.
“I played my first-team club debut with Joe Denly, which I’m sure he won’t remember, and I watched Heino Kuhn play Test cricket here for South Africa last summer, so to be playing against them both this year is incredibly cool.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but feel really fortunate that it’s gone so we’ll this far.
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“It’s the sort of pitch that’s doing a bit and there’s a temptation to get giddy and chase wickets. But I was just trying to smash my line and length, keep it simple and tight and make them play forward to every delivery, knowing that there’s enough in this pitch that one will nip or keep low from time to time. Two early wickets and we’re right back in the game.”
Middlesex were dismissed for 186 in their second innings of a low-scoring encounter, with Sam Robson (36) their top scorer.
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Matt Henry (4-40) had more success with the ball for Kent, as Harry Podmore (3-35) and Darren Stevens (3-46) shared the other wickets to fall, but captain Sam Billings is not getting carried away with victory in sight, after Heino Kuhn (26 not out) and Daniel Bell-Drummong (27) shared an unbroken 50-run stand before the close.
He said: “The job’s definitely not done yet. I thought Middlesex looked comfortable batting up to lunch, but in the space of two overs it all changed with Malan and Gubbings falling to successive balls. So we know it doesn’t take much to change the course of events and for us to feel on the back foot again.
“Heino and Daniel batted sensationally well after that break for bad light. They were busy, they ran well between the wickets and made it difficult for their bowlers to settle.
“It’s been an odd game of cricket, but we need to stay positive. It’s not a pitch to pick up boundaries freely, so if they can add 20 to 30 to their partnership it will help ease a few nerves in our dressing room for sure.”