Berg's happy as Buck wickets help Northants fight back on first day against Kent
Gareth Berg says Northants were 'pretty happy' with their day's work after Nathan Buck helped the hosts fight back on day one of the LV= County Championship clash with Kent.
Ollie Robinson, Jordan Cox and Jack Leaning all hit half-centuries at the County Ground as the visitors recovered from the loss of three early wickets to post 309 for seven.
But Buck, who took three for 57 from his 18 overs, got rid of Robinson and Grant Stewart to leave the game in the balance ahead of day two.
And Berg said: "We’re pretty happy with that stint.
"We would have liked to have finished off the innings by the end of the day with the start we had.
"Fair play to Kent too - as soon as we were off our lines, they put away the bad balls and put the pressure back on us.
"But as a whole we were pretty happy.”
Northants seamer Berg had made the most of favourable conditions early on to account for England internationals Zak Crawley and Joe Denly in successive overs.
Kent’s batsmen though found runs easier to come by after lunch and went on the offensive, punishing anything short or wide with a flurry of boundaries.
Northants captain Adam Rossington would have been delighted after winning the toss and being rewarded with the early wicket of his opposite number Daniel Bell-Drummond, who fell lbw to Ben Sanderson in the seventh over.
Berg then found late movement to entice Crawley to edge one behind and bowled the experienced Denly to reduce Kent to 38 for three.
Cox though, playing in only his eighth first-class game, provided stout defence throughout the morning and ensured Kent went into lunch with only three wickets down.
Cox and Leaning resumed after the interval with a clear intent to attack and showing signs of the form and timing that brought them a record-breaking stand of 423 against Sussex last summer.
On this occasion, their partnership had reached 89 when Cox fell to a stunning leaping catch on the midwicket boundary by Emilio Gay.
Leaning found a new willing partner in Robinson, who quickly found his touch, and the pair had already compiled a 50-run stand by the tea interval.
Leaning, who survived an appeal for lbw on 32, brought up his half century with two boundaries in one over off Rob Keogh, driving the spinner through the covers and then using his feet to play him sweetly through mid-on.
The pair had extended their partnership to 98 after tea when Leaning edged behind to give part-time bowler Gay his maiden first-class wicket.
Robinson continued to enjoy himself with Darren Stevens for company in the final hour, with the 44-year-old all-rounder dispatching Sanderson for six over backward square.
Eventually, Robinson’s luck run out after 123 deliveries when he pulled Nathan Buck to deep square leg.
Shortly afterwards, Buck claimed his third wicket of the day when Grant Stewart left the ball and was bowled.
Kent batsman Leaning said: “We had to rebuild a bit after a couple of good poles.
"The pitch is a really good one and as soon as the ball got slightly older there wasn’t so much nip.
"It's not the kind of attack you can just go after.
"Northants try to grind you down and you have to play them at their own game a bit.
"I was hoping we could bed in for a big stand again.
"We are all a bit disappointed not to go on and score a hundred.
"In terms of Robbo I think that’s the best I’ve ever seen anyone strike the ball from ball one.
"As for Coxy, to come through those early wickets and play like that shows a lot of character."