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Kent v Leicestershire: Gritty Denly 50 and Stevens haul fuels fightback on day 2

Monday 4th May 2015

Men’s First Team

Darren Stevens took five wickets and Joe Denly scored a battling half-century as Kent fought their way back into contention on the second day of their LV= County Championship clash with Leicestershire.

When bad light forced a halt with 13 scheduled overs remaining, Kent had reached 155 for three – a deficit of 231 – with Denly unbeaten on 56 and Sam Northeast with 38.

The fourth-wicket partners added an unbroken 79 as Kent fought back from 76 for three.

Leicestershire had picked up their first bowling bonus point by bagging three mid-session wickets to send Kent in at tea on 100 for three.

Responding to Leicestershire's impressive 386, rounded off this morning when Stevens ripped out the lower order for figures of five for 88, Kent lost Daniel Bell-Drummond (14) to a catch in the slip cordon off Clint McKay.

Skipper Rob Key was trapped leg before and Brendan Nash then aimed an expansive cover drive at Rob Taylor to go for 21 and with only 76 on the board.

Denly, back at his home club after a three-year stint with Middlesex, dug in thereafter in tandem with vice-captain Northeast in a combative fourth-wicket stand and registered his second successive championship fifty from 149 balls.

He reached the milestone with a rare moment of flamboyance; rocking back to pull a short one for six over square leg to go with his five fours.

Denly added only five more before fading light and faulty floodlights forced an early finish just after 5.30pm.

Afterwards, the former England ODI batsman said: "It was tough going because Leicestershire bowled pretty well in pretty gloomy conditions for the last hour or so. We had to graft hard for those runs.

"The light was poor just before tea and coming out and re-starting was tough. Clint McKay's a decent bowler and we know full well at Kent what Charlie Shreck can do, so we were made to work for every run.

"If we're honest, we didn't create enough pressure with the ball on the opening day but Darren Stevens' spell this morning has got us back into things."

Leicestershire had started the day sitting pretty on 300 for five in their first innings and that they were restricted to only 86 more runs was solely down to the naggingly accurate seamers of Stevens, who claimed Kent's first five-wicket haul of the summer.

The former Leicestershire batsman was barely trusted to bowl during his eight years at Grace Road but his low, medium-paced slingers can cause havoc at the Spitfire Ground, as his five for 28 return of the opening session proved.

Having bowled Hill, Stevens polished off Leicestershire's innings just before lunch by bowling Jigar Naik after the tail-ender padded up then by having his former Kent team-mate Shreck held at short mid-off without scoring after a tame checked drive.

Click here for the scorecard