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Kent v Essex: Top six gain maximum batting points

Monday 20th July 2015

Men’s First Team

Kent extended their first innings lead to 160 with power to add in the Royal Spa town as they reached the mid-point of their LV= Championship clash with Essex sitting pretty on 420 for four.

Having dismissed Essex for 260 within 82 overs of the opening day, Kent’s top order all made useful contributions in more testing overcast conditions to leave themselves in control of events going into day three.

Resuming on their overnight reply of 68 without loss, Kent suffered only one casualty in the opening session and that after Rob Key and Daniel Bell-Drummond had posted the county’s maiden first-wicket century stand of the summer.

Key posted an 89-ball half-century – his second in the championship this season as Bell-Drummond, having raced to his 50 from only 41-balls, was bowled by Jesse Ryder off an inside edge with the score on 127.

Joe Denly, having agreed to slot into the No3 berth, might have gone without scoring when he feathered one off Graham Napier to slip soon after, but Ryder, diving to his left, down a low chance.

Denly went on to add 73 in tandem with Key before the former Kent captain top edged a leg-side flick against Napier low to Nick Browne diving forward at square leg.

In-form Sam Northeast looked assured in his 69-minute stay for 43, but he became the third victim of the mid-session when he too feathered an attempted drive onto his stumps off the bowling of Porter.

Though 57 ahead at tea, Kent still needed to bat responsibly thereafter but Denly, having initially struggled for his timing, was looking back to his imperious best when he was bowled when trying to force the pace against on-loan Middlesex spinner Ravi Patel.

It proved the final Essex success of the day as Darren Stevens and Ben Harmison dug in thereafter to add 117 in 29 overs before bad light stopped play.

In something of a tortoise and hare stand, Stevens darted to 50 from 64 balls, which included four successive boundaries off Porter.

Harmison, however, played the ideal foil, scoring a measured yet equally important 50 from 119 balls as the Essex attack laboured late into the day.

Denly, one of Kent’s five half-century makers, said: “We were very good yesterday at boring the Essex batters out. It’s that type of pitch, you have to dry up the runs and play the patience game before you get your rewards.

“With the bat we stopped them bowling in partnerships today. With the likes of Masters and Ryder, they usually build up the dot balls at both ends, but we managed to get our batting partnerships going, which was vital.

“The century stand between Keysy and Deebs made life so much easier for me and the middle-order guys coming in. I was upset to get out having done all the hard work, I played a bit of a lazy shot against the spinner, but it had been a tough pitch to score quickly on.”

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Kent face Essex at Tunbridge Wells twice in a week: the LV= County Championship continues on Tuesday before welcoming the Eagles to the Nevill Ground for the opening 50-over Royal London One-Day Cup match on Sunday (24 July).

Click here to book your place at the 2015 Tunbridge Wells Cricket Festival