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Denly leads MCC recovery

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Joe Denly’s unbeaten hundred represented the highlight of a superb MCC fightback on day three of the Champion County game in Abu Dhabi.

Warwickshire dismissed their opponents for 130 this morning to claim a mammoth lead of 431, but found wickets harder to come after enforcing the follow-on as MCC progressed to 308 for four.

That was chiefly down to Denly, whose display was all the more impressive given he retired with a migraine yesterday during MCC’s first innings.

The Middlesex batsman returned to the crease this morning to take his score from 19 to 47, and compiled 119 not out from 190 deliveries at the second time of asking.

Joe Denly

Joe Denly moves towards a century. His unbeaten 119 underpinned a much-improved MCC display © Graham Morris/

Denly shared 156 with former Kent team-mate Sam Northeast, who struck 89, after the early loss of Jimmy Adams and received further support from Somerset all-rounder Peter Trego, whose unbeaten 57 spanned just 50 balls.

MCC still trailed by 123 heading into the final day, but at least had hope of pulling off an extraordinary escape.

“It's been a good day,” said Denly. “I was disappointed to get out in the first innings the way I did, but I was very happy to spend some time out there second time around and get some runs.”

“If we can get another couple of big partnerships tomorrow to keep them out in the field for a bit longer, hopefully we can come away with a positive result.”

Chris Wright and Oliver Hannon-Dalby shared the remaining first-innings scalps today to complete respective figures of 5-35 and 3-30.

Spinner Paul Best then had Adams caught at short-leg prior to lunch, but Warwickshire had to wait for their next breakthrough as Denly and Northeast counter-attacked fluently.

The latter fell short of a hundred when he was caught at fine-leg by Hannon-Dalby off Wright and Dale Benkenstein subsequently departed to the first ball of the evening session, clean bowled by Rikki Clarke for five.

However, Denly refused to budge and moved to three figures soon after seeing Dawid Malan, on 28, edge a Hannon-Dalby outswinger through to substitute wicketkeeper Peter McKay, who took over from Tim Ambrose after lunch.

Trego dominated the remainder of the day, bludgeoning five fours and two sixes in a breezy innings that significantly enhanced MCC’s slim chances of survival.

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