Kent opening batsman Joe Denly is delighted to have exorcised a peculiar Tunbridge Wells bogey once and for all with a season’s best 143 that also helped lay the foundations for last week’s County Championship five-wicket win over Leicestershire – the county’s first success on home soil this summer.
Having suffered three successive first innings ducks at The Nevill Ground during the past three years, Denly has also now posted centuries in his last three matches at the venue, including 143 and 74 in the success over Leicestershire.
To increase his confidence even more, Denly also featured in a first-wicket stand with opening partner Rob Key worth 198 – their first three-figure partnership in the Championship since July 2009.
Now fully recovered from the fractured thumb that sidelined him for three weeks in May, Denly said: “As a batter you remember the grounds where you do well and the places where you don’t score many, but Tunbridge Wells is a mixture of the two for me.
“I’ve got this record of three ducks in the last three first innings here, but I’ve backed that up by scoring three hundreds here too, so I still enjoy coming to the Nevill. It’s a great place to play as the crowd always come here in good numbers
“Myself and Keysie are both well aware we haven’t produced the big partnerships in four-day cricket up at the top of the order, not just this year but for the last couple of seasons. We don’t know why that is, and if we did I guess we’d have put it right sooner than we did.
“To be fair, all our batters bar Martin van Jaarsveld haven’t spent enough time at the crease this year. We’re all well aware of that as well and it made for a nice change to put it right at Tunbridge Wells with a partnership that set us up nicely for the win.”
Meanwhile, Kent are hopeful their Twenty20 Cup squad will be bolstered with the arrival of Pakistan Test bowler Wahab Riaz by the end of this week.
The 25-year-old left-arm paceman is in Abu Dhabi collecting his international visa and is expected to fly directly from there to the UK and could even feature in the Spitfires’ next Friends Life t20 game against Somerset in Taunton on June 10.
Riaz, who has seven Test caps and 22 ODI appearances to his name, has been given Pakistan Cricket Board clearance by way of a ‘no objection certificate’ that will allow him to play one-day and Championship cricket in England through until August 20, though he is thought to be contracted to play in a Sri Lankan Premier League t20 in the last two weeks of July.
Riaz will join South African fast bowler Charl Langeveldt to form Kent’s new-look overseas partnership.