Denly digs in but Kent lose two before lunch against Essex

Wednesday 28th July 2010

Joe Denly reached a patient 39 not out from 85 balls in the two-hour opening session

Kent v Essex LV= County Championship Division 1. Day One, Canterbury.

By Mark Pennell

Kent opener Joe Denly maintained the confidence of his limited overs century last weekend to anchor the Kent innings on the opening day against Essex at St Lawrence.
Batting first in ideal conditions and having won the toss, Kent reached 99 for two after 29 overs at the lunch break with Denly on 39* and Martin van Jaarsveld on 15.
Both Kent openers Joe Denly and Rob Key got underway with boundaries as the Essex attack got off to an uncertain start.
Former Kent seamer David Masters strayed leg-side in his opening over from the Pavilion End to be leg-glanced to the ropes by Denly, then Key pulled a loosener from Maurice Chambers through the mid-wicket boundary.
Essex appeared to suffer a big blow in the six the over when their star England all-rounder Ravi Bopara went after a rolling stop in the field with what appeared a recurrence of his recent side strain.
Key, playing his first game in three weeks after a fractured little finger, went on to hit one more four in reaching 13 before Cambers had his revenge. Turning the ball off his pads, Key saw Jaik Mickleburgh at forward short leg cling on to a sharp, reflex catch to make it 26 for one.
In a change to their batting policy, Kent sent in Sam Northeast at No3 in place of Geraint Jones who had held the berth throughout the opening 10 games of the season.
Northeast responded with the two best shots of the morning; a square cut to point and a clip through backward square that both raced to the boundary off Andy Carter.
Northeast then blotted his copybook by gifting away his wicket just before lunch. Down the wicket and aiming to drive against Australian wrist-spinner and Essex debutant Bryce McGain, he failed to get to the pitch and holed out to long off where substitute fielder Grant Flower took a fine running catch.