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Joe Denly makes England Test debut in second Test against West Indies in Antigua as Whitstable and Kent vice-captain becomes 690th man to play for his country

By Matt Leclere

Joe Denly has become the first Canterbury-born man to play Test cricket for England after making his debut against the West Indies.

The 32-year-old batsman from Whitstable opened the batting for the Three Lions in Antigua today.

He is the first Kent player to play in Test match for England since Ashes-winning wicket keeper Geraint Jones in 2006.

Joe Denly hits a four to bring up his 50 in the game against Warwickshire in Tunbridge Wells last season
Joe Denly hits a four to bring up his 50 in the game against Warwickshire in Tunbridge Wells last season

Denly was selected to replace struggling opener Keaton Jennings and he was presented with his first cap to become the 690th man to represent England in Test matches.

But his first innings lasted less than an hour as he made six runs from 23 balls in a tough opening morning for the tourists.

He was caught behind by Windies keeper Shane Dowrich off a short and wide delivery from fast bowler Alzari Joseph after 48 minutes as England slumped to 34-3.

Jonathan Agnew, the former England bowler and now BBC commentator, described Denly's dismissal as "poor" but said on Twitter he could "perhaps forgive early nerves".

The hosts won the toss and put England in to bat on a difficult looking pitch for batting.

Denly joins Jones and Rob Key as the latest England men in Kent's ranks and follows county legends Colin Cowdrey, Frank Wooley, Derek Underwood, Les Ames and Alan Knott to represent their country.

The former Chaucer School pupil, who also played football for Charlton as a youngster, made his Kent debut in 2004 before playing his first County Championship game the following year.

He played nine one-day internationals for England in 2009 and six T20 internationals with his last appearance coming in Colombo against Sri Lanka last October.

Joe Denly signs autographs. Kent Cricket Club's annual family open day at The St Lawrence Ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury..Picture: Andy Payton. (3067347)
Joe Denly signs autographs. Kent Cricket Club's annual family open day at The St Lawrence Ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury..Picture: Andy Payton. (3067347)
The 32-year-old was named as Kent's batsman of the year at the club's 2018 awards
The 32-year-old was named as Kent's batsman of the year at the club's 2018 awards

Denly is regarded as one of the most elegant batsmen in the country and has been Kent's leading run scorer for the last two seasons.

In 2017, he scored 182 in the club's record-breaking 382-run partnership with Sean Dickson in Beckenham.

Last season he led the way scoring 1,729 runs in all competitions including six centuries.

The Denly family - including Joe's father, Nick, and brother, Sam - have all played cricket for Whitstable CC and his brother is now manager of Hythe Town FC.

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