London: India crashed to a 21-run defeat to Kent after a career-best four for 42 by seamer James Golding to snatch victory away from the tourists at Canterbury on Monday.
Golding claimed three mid-innings Indian wickets for just 13 runs, including the prized scalp of Sachin Tendulkar, to humble the tourists who were chasing a Kent total of 284. Cruising on 166 for two, the tourists never recovered from Golding's salvo and fell 21 runs short of the Kent target when they were dismissed for 263 in the 49th over. Opener Virender Sehwag led the Indian charge, blasting a run-a-ball 45 to guide the tourists to 85 before he became Golding's first victim. Captain Saurav Ganguly was joined by Dinesh Mongia and the pair savaged the Kent attack before a needless run-out sent Ganguly back to the pavilion having scored 64 of India's 136 runs. Tendulkar replaced Ganguly at the crease, but his introduction galvanised the Kent bowlers into action and Golding scattered Tendulkar's stumps after the diminutive batsman had scored 15 runs off just 16 balls.
Having sent Tendulkar packing, Golding had Dinesh Mongia caught behind for 37 and Yuvraj Singh caught by captain Dave Fulton for three. The tourists were reeling on 179 for five, with only former Kent star Rahul Dravid looking likely to steer India to victory. However Dravid saw Mohammad Kaif and Harbhajan Singh both fooled by the wily bowling of former England all-rounder Mark Ealham before he gave Ealham his third wicket when he was caught by Amjad Khan for just 31 runs. Ealham then had Anil Kumble caught by James Hockley as he raced through the Indian tail to finish with figures of 4 for 45. After winning the toss, Kent were reduced to 10 for one when Tinu Yohannan had James Hockley caught behind by Dravid. But a 128-run partnership between Rob Key and Austalian batsman Andrew Symonds helped Kent set up a formidable target of 285.
Kent reached 138 before Harbhajan had Key stumped for a 84-ball 76 innings which included eight boundaries and two sixes. The loss of skipper Dave Fulton, bowled by Kumble for seven, sparked the loss of three wickets for just 18 runs as India sought to fight back. Symonds had blasted 75-runs off just 57 balls before he was run out only to be quickly followed into the pavilion by Matthew Walker, who was caught and bowled by Harbhajan for just three runs. With Kent tottering, Ealham's introduction swung the momentum back to the home side with an unbeaten run-a-ball 74 which included five boundaries and five sixes. The heroic innings was enough to lead the home side to victory after India's mid- innings collapse.