Worcestershire v Kent: Joe Denly hits career-best double century as hosts face stiff target

Joe Denly's previous highest first-class score was 206 not out against Northants at Wantage Road in 2016
Joe Denly's previous highest first-class score was 206 not out against Northants at Wantage Road in 2016
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, New Road (day three):
Kent 260 & 474: Denly 227, Rouse 68; Leach 4-79
Worcestershire 336: Clarke 142; Coles 6-84 & 16-0
Worcestershire 6 pts, Kent 5 pts
Worcestershire need a further 383 runs to beat Kent with all 10 wickets remaining

Kent's Joe Denly batted most of a swelteringly hot day at New Road to hit a career-best 227 and leave hosts Worcestershire chasing 399 to win.

Resuming on his overnight 67 out of Kent's 120-3, Denly extended his stay at the crease to nearly eight hours as Kent were finally bowled out for 474.

On the longest day of the year, Denly got help from wicketkeeper Adam Rouse (68) in a stand of 149 in 39 overs.

Worcestershire closed on 16-0, needing a further 383 to win on the last day.

Kent looked in danger of losing inside three days when they lost their sixth wicket shortly before lunch, when their overall lead was only 129.

Now, although still a good wicket to bat on, with Pakistan wrist spinner Yasir Shah in their line-up, Kent will have high hopes of pushing for victory in this meeting of second v third in Division Two.

Brett D'Oliveira is 10 not out. while Daryl Mitchell, with whom he has already shared two double-century opening stands this season, will resume on 6.

Denly's record-breaking innings was the highest-ever score by a Kent batsman in games against Worcestershire, beating Les Ames' 201 not out at Gillingham in 1937, and his 201 at New Road two years later.

Worcestershire all-rounder Ed Barnard told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"Attritional cricket, some might say. Obviously Denly played a terrific knock there and deserves all the credit he gets. He kept going in those conditions. He didn't look like at any point that he was going to give it away.

"But the lads rallied hard all day. We gave 100% all the time and you would expect nothing less from our bowlers. We bowled without luck at times. We could easily have bowled them out for a few less than we did.

"But they've got those runs now and it's up to us tomorrow now to go and chase them. The pitch has not done a lot. There was a bit of swing early on. It might start to go a little bit up and down. Maybe a little bit of turn for Yasir as well but hopefully not too much."

Kent batsman Joe Denly told BBC Radio Kent:

"It was great to spend so much time out there. The pitch was pretty good for batting on. The biggest challenge was probably the heat and trying to stay cool.

"I'm obviously delighted. It is probably the best I've felt for a while, probably ever. You got real rewards hitting through the line, cover drives and stuff like that. It was just about trying to bat as long as I could.

"In the circumstances, it was quite an important knock and we are in a really good position now. Our bowlers have been on fire all year so hopefully they can cause some trouble."

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