County Championship: Dom Sibley hits double ton as Warwickshire-Kent heads towards draw
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Spitfire Ground, Canterbury (day three):|
|Kent 585-7 dec: Bell-Drummond 166, Dickson 161, Robinson 78, Crawley 72; Wainman 3-112|
|Warwickshire 400-3: Sibley 207*, Rhodes 109|
|Warwickshire (4 pts) trail Kent (5 pts) by 185 runs|
Dom Sibley hit Division One's first double century this season and became the first to pass 1,000 first-class runs in 2019 as Warwickshire all but ensured a draw with Kent at Canterbury.
Opener Sibley pressed his claims for an England call-up in fine style, hitting 31 fours in his 409-ball 207 not out.
He shared a first-wicket stand of 221 with Will Rhodes, who scored 109.
Sibley continued to shine as the visitors reached 400-3 at the close of day three, still trailing by 185 runs.
The Bears need another 36 runs to avoid the follow-on but, with seven wickets in hand on a glorious batting track, there seems little chance of anything other than a draw.
Glamorgan's Marnus Labuschagne also reached the 1,000-run milestone on Tuesday, just minutes after Sibley, but the Australian is the first to do it in Championship games only.
Sibley, by contrast, had 825 first-class runs in 2019 going into this game, 678 in the Championship, as well as his scores of 19 and 128 for the MCC in the Champion County game against Surrey in March.
Already averaging 56.50 from 13 County Championship innings, he reached his third three-figure score in his seventh century-plus opening stand with Rhodes in just 12 matches.
After Rhodes was caught behind off Grant Stewart and Rob Yates swiftly followed for just three, Sam Hain (40) and Adam Hose (18 not out) provided decent support.
Sibley went on to easily beat his previous best score of 144 for the Bears, set against Sussex last September, as he pushed his growing chance of a summer Test call, just 30 days before the first Ashes Test on his home ground at Edgbaston.
It is the second double century of his career, since making 242 in only his third first-class match against Yorkshire for Surrey in 2013.
And Sibley is now within 22 of the highest score made in Championship cricket this season, in Division Two, 229 by Glamorgan's Billy Root, against Northants in June.
Bears vice-captain Dom Sibley told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:
"I feel good, obviously a little tired, but it's nice to get a double hundred - my first one for the Bears - and with power to add in the morning.
"I had to work hard at the start because Kent bowled well with a newish ball. It wasn't easy. I only scored 30 in the first session, so it was tough going. We've played on some tough wickets this year.
(On his England hopes): "A lot of people are chatting about it and there's a bit of hype surrounding my name, but I just want to keep batting and scoring runs.
"It's really that simple. If I keep batting and stay in the grove then who knows? We'll see what happens."