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Northants fight back after Denly’s unbeaten maiden double hundred

Joe Denly reached an unbeaten maiden double hundred in first class cricket as batsmen ground out runs on a sluggish pitch at Northampton.

The 30-year-old achieved his career best of 206 not out and helped Kent to a fourth batting bonus point with a big six over mid-wicket as Mitch Claydon (16) and Matt Hunn's 46-ball stay provided resistance at the other end before being bowled out for 396.

Alex Wakely and Jake Libby provided a solid reply for Northamptonshire on the second day at Wantage Road with a stand of 156 for the second wicket. The home side closed 206 for 3 trailing Kent by 190 runs.

Batting was far from straightforward on another Wantage Road wicket offering no pace but Wakely and Libby steered the home side back into the game after Joe Denly made his maiden double century in the morning session.

Libby was first to his half-century, in 128 balls with four fours and a six, with a well-timed flicked through midwicket, quickly followed by his captain Alex Wakely, who was slightly more positive and took 100 balls for his second fifty of the season.

Libby struggled slightly to move around the left-arm spin of Imran Qayyum – on first-class debut – but broke the shackles by shuffling down the wicket to hoist a six over long-on.

This being Libby, the technique was perfectly textbook and he held the pose as the ball crashed into the Lynn Wilson stand. Wakely also found the stands, with a mighty hook off Calum Haggett.

But the pair failed to convert their smart innings to centuries with dismissals in identical fashion.

Haggett sent down wide tempters outside off stump and first Wakely, for 87, then Libby, for 81, chased after them and edged to wicketkeeper Adam Rouse, who now has 22 dismissals – the most in first class cricket.

In the morning session, Denly resumed on 126 and Kent 300 for 7. They lost Mitch Claydon in the fifth over of the day – running past a Monty Panesar delivery to be stumped for 16 – but thereafter Matt Hunn provided excellent support, lasting 46 balls, in a ninth wicket stand of 68.

Denly flicked a six over midwicket to bring up a fourth batting bonus point in the 110th over and a second six was lofted into the Pavilion as he bettered the 199 he made at Derby back in 2011.

He finished with a career-best 206 not after after Hunn lost his off stump to Rob Keogh’s first over of the day and Qayyum was caught behind for a golden duck.

Ben Duckett then slapped Darren Stevens straight to point to complete Kent’s ideal morning but the game was left even by the close.

Scorecard

Kent are next in action on Friday in the opening match of the NatWest T20 Blast

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