County Championship: Joe Denly leads way as Kent take control against Surrey

Joe Denly
Joe Denly's 88 is his second highest Championship score this season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (day two):
Surrey 271-9 dec: Elgar 63, Foakes 60; Podmore 3-42, Milnes 3-54, Stewart 3-84
Kent 285-4: Denly 88, Crawley 69, Bell-Drummond 64, Kuhn 50*; Clark 2-67
Kent (3 pts) lead Surrey (2 pts) by 14 runs
Scorecard

England batsman Joe Denly hit a stubborn 88 as Kent took control against Surrey on day two at The Oval.

Denly's watchful innings came from 200 balls as the visitors steadily chased down Surrey's total of 271 to build a 14-run lead with six wickets left.

A confusing morning saw Surrey add 27 to their overnight score of 244-6 and have to declare with nine wickets down.

Gareth Batty was ill and unable to bat but, despite Kent agreeing, ECB rules prevented a replacement coming in.

It had appeared as though Amar Virdi would take Batty's place but Surrey were forced to halt their innings early.

England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes (60) was the first man out after 23 runs had been added to the overnight score of 244-6, and Rikki Clarke soon followed after an entertaining 21-ball 27.

Zak Crawley (69) got the Kent reply off to a brisk start, with Denly and Daniel Bell Drummond (64) continuing the good work, while Jordan Clark picked up two wickets for the hosts.

Denly was caught off the bowling off Morne Morkel late in the day but Heino Kuhn brought up his 50 and remained unbeaten for Kent at the close of play.

The sides have just three wins from 16 Championship fixtures between them so far this season, but Kent head into day three in control, with a narrow lead and six wickets in hand.

Surrey head coach Michael Di Venuto told BBC Radio London:

"We were told that Gareth Batty was ill and unlikely to get out of bed for a day or two. He hadn't taken part in any part of the game, so we asked Kent the question.

"To their credit, they didn't have a problem with it. They were incredibly understanding of the situation we were in. But apparently there is a law somewhere that the ECB informed us of and it wasn't to be. It was common sense for us. It's not something that's going to happen every year.

"If we had lost a wicket three minutes before, Amar Virdi would have batted and then I don't know what would have happened to the game. It might have been postponed."

Kent opener Zak Crawley:

"I felt really good out there. It was great to get a few runs with Joe Denly and build us a total. And we managed to go past them. It was a good day for us.

"Morne Morkel and Rikki Clarke are always going to bowl well. They are high quality bowlers. So it was slow going at times. It was about working hard.

"We only had to wait eight balls this morning for the new ball. Matt Milnes bowled very well without luck so he deserved his success. It was payback time. Then we came in to bat and the blue sky came out."

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