Derbyshire on top despite Denly ton

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Joe Denly

Joe Denly became the third centurion in two days at Derby. The opener's unbeaten 142 boosted Kent's hopes of avoiding the follow-on after Derbyshire had posted 535 in their first innings

Joe Denly took advantage of a dropped catch to score his second century of the season but Derbyshire are still in a strong position after two days of the LV= County Championship match against Kent at Derby.

Denly made 142 not out after he was missed on 33 but Kent still have a lot to do to save the game after a hundred from Ross Whiteley took Derbyshire past 500 for the first time in two years.

The 22-year-old all-rounder ended with an unbeaten career-best 130 out of 535, while pace bowler David Balcombe took 6-128, his fourth five-wicket haul in five matches.

Kent faced a daunting 386 to avoid the follow-on and they slipped to 77 for three before Denly led a recovery which saw the visitors close on 279 for four, still 256 behind.

Derbyshire had started the day well-placed on 405 for six with Whiteley and Jon Clare both in the 70s, but Balcombe broke through with the first ball of the second over.

Clare edged a drive to first slip which ended a stand of 142 in 22 overs and Kent struck again when Tim Groenewald could not avoid a lifting ball from Balcombe.

That was the on-loan Hampshire bowler’s 30th wicket for Kent but he could not break the ninth-wicket stand between Whiteley and Tony Palladino which carried Derbyshire past 500.

Whiteley has delivered some impressive performances since coming into the side this season and his second championship hundred was another demonstration of his ability to strike the ball cleanly.

Although it was a streaky four through the slips that took him to a hundred, it was a rare false stroke in a commanding innings that contained 14 fours and four sixes.

Palladino also played his part by scoring 34 out of 83 before he skied a drive to mid-off, and he was back in the action again when he struck in the fourth over of the Kent reply.

Daniel-Bell Drummond was caught behind for four fending at the former Essex seamer, who then claimed his 48th championship victim of the year when he trapped Sam Northeast lbw for 12.

Kent’s position would have been far worse if Denly had not been dropped by Luke Sutton off Mark Footitt, before Alex Blake was pouched by the Derbyshire skipper off Clare in the 20th over.

At that stage, Kent were in deep trouble but Denly grew in authority and played some handsome straight drives en route to a 128-ball century, while receiving good support from Darren Stevens and Azhar Mahmood.

Stevens made 38 in a stand of 110 before he pulled Clare to deep square-leg but Azhar completed a half-century and was unbeaten on 60 as Kent ended the day 107 runs shy of their follow-on target.

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