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Kent beat Warwickshire by 73 runs at The Nevill Ground

By Josh Fordham

Kent beat Warwickshire by 73 runs in a Specsavers County Championship game that went down to the wire at The Nevill Ground in Tunbridge Wells.

The top-of-the-table clash looked like it would not last the duration after 20 wickets fell in the first day.

Centuries in the second innings from Sean Dickson and Joe Denly helped Kent set a target of 519 for Warwickshire.

With a record-breaking total needed for the visiting side, Ian Bell dug in with a magnificent 172 to bring his side within sight of the total.

Joe Denly in action at The Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells. Picture: Andy Payton.
Joe Denly in action at The Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells. Picture: Andy Payton.

Seven wickets fell in the final two sessions of the day, with Denly taking the last three, to give Kent the win.

Warwickshire took up the option of putting Kent into bat and had them on the backfoot early on to leave them 66-4 inside the first 20 overs of the first day.

Joe Denly made a gritty 59 from 116 balls behind he was caught by wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose off Keith Barker’s bowling.

Barker ripped through Kent’s lower order, taking 5-32, as they were bowled out for 197.

A career-best of 4-26 for Harry Podmore and another four wickets for Matt Henry (4-54) meant 20 wickets fell on the first day at Tunbridge Wells.

Heino Kuhn batting at The Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells. Picture: Andy Payton.
Heino Kuhn batting at The Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells. Picture: Andy Payton.

Warwickshire were all out for 125 to put Kent’s opening pair of Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sean Dickson back at the crease for the second time in a day.

Jonathan Trott was one of three batsmen to reach double figures ending the innings 51 not out.

The second day belonged to Dickson (133) and Joe Denly (119) who both made excellent centuries as Kent looked to bat their opponents out of the game.

Zak Crawley fell seven runs short of a maiden first-class century as Kent declared on 446-8 to set Warwickshire a target of 519.

Barker again the pick of the bowlers taking 4-64 to end with match figures of 9-86.

A record run-chase would be required of the Warwickshire batters to give them victory and a little over five sessions for Kent to get 10 wickets.

The Nevill Ground in the sunshine. Picture: Andy Payton.
The Nevill Ground in the sunshine. Picture: Andy Payton.

Former England stalwart Ian Bell batted for six hours to make a superb 172. He was involved in a 260 run second wicket partnership with Dominic Sibley (104).

A flurry of wickets in the second session of the final day saw the away side on 405-7 still needing 114.

As the match entered the final session Kent still needed three wickets and the batting side required 105 runs.

Two wickets in the same over for Joe Denly brought his side on the brink of victory with Warwickshire needing a 78 run partnership for the last wicket.

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