Centurions put Kent in control against Warwickshire
PUBLISHED: 20:00 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 20:00 21 June 2018
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Second-innings centuries by Sean Dickson and Joe Denly helped Kent to build a potentially game-defining lead of 431 runs as the hosts closed on day two of their top-of-the-table Specsavers County Championship clash with Warwickshire on an impressive 359-6.
In a complete volte face to the opening day when 20 wickets fell, Kent’s third-wicket pairing found batting at The Nevill in Tunbridge Wells a pleasurable pastime once the shine went off the new ball and the wind and sunshine took effect in helping to harden the top surface.
Earlier, opener Daniel Bell-Drummond had succumbed cheaply to Keith Barker - the clear pick of Warwickshire’s attack first time around with 5-32.
Barker saw two worthy leg before decisions turned aside before running one across the right-hander and enticing him to nick one to the keeper.
Barker also accounted for in-form Heino Kuhn, moving one back in through the air to snare the former Proteas Test opener flush in front to bring acting captain Denly and Dickson together.
The pair, who had notched Kent’s only other championship centuries of the summer at Bristol during the previous round of matches, combined to add 208 trouble-free runs and set a Kent third-wicket record against Warwickshire, surpassing the 186 made by Bill Ashdown and Les Ames at Edgbaston in 1934.
Jeetan Patel, the Warwickshire captain might have made life tougher for the pair by posting a third man when something like 25 per cent of their runs came through the gap, but instead they were allowed to bat through the middle session unfettered.
Patel made amends by removing both soon after tea with his off-spinners. Dickson’s 229-ball stay for 133 ended when he played across a quicker ball to depart lbw. Then, turning one in from well outside off, he won an ambitious lbw shout that ended Denley’s 88-ball stay for a polished 119.
Patel mystified some pundits later on by delaying taking the second new ball for five overs before finally throwing the new cherry to Keith Barker, comfortably his most potent threat in taking five wickets n Kent’s first innings.
When Barker did get the new ball he quickly removed Darren Stevens, following one outside off to be caught behind, before trapping Rouse leg before with a full in-swinger.
With Kent six down and already leading by 410 runs, Barker blotted his copybook by running on the pitch for the second time to be taken out of the attack by umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy.
With Barker out of their attack, Kent rookie Zak Crawley reached an eye-catching 47 through to stumps to deepen Warwickshire’s parlous position. The visitors will know they will have to bat superbly to save this game, let alone win it.