Jaydn Denly digs in to thwart Essex’s final-day victory push

1xC Team

Essex 530 for 7 dec (Critchley 151*, Elgar 120, Cox 67) and 257 for 4 dec (Cox 116*) drew with Kent 413 (Compton 165, Bell-Drummond 135, Critchley 5-105) and 164 for 7 (Jaydn Denly 41*, Porter 4-20)

A combination of Kent’s 18-year-old debutant Jaydn Denly and bad weather scuppered Essex’s hopes of recording back-to-back County Championship wins.

The all-rounder joined forces with uncle Joe in a sixth-wicket stand that took 16 overs and contributed 51 runs after Kent had been on the ropes at 65 for 5.

Jaydn Denly stood firm for 128 balls on a rain-interrupted final day at Chelmsford, finishing on 41 not out in Kent’s 164 for 7, Jamie Porter taking 4 for 20.

Essex had declared for the second time in the match on their overnight 257 for 4, with Jordan Cox unbeaten on 116 after his fireworks of the previous evening.

That set Kent 375 to win, initially from 76 overs, then 64 after the morning session was abandoned following another downpour.

Kent’s batters donned black armbands to mark the death of their former England spinner Derek Underwood at the age of 78.

Essex’s quest got off to a flying start in Porter’s second over when Tawanda Muyeye edged an inswinger to the wicketkeeper and the seamer then had Ben Compton lbw for six.

Simon Harmer dropped Jack Leaning first ball but made amends when Daniel Bell-Drummond went to sweep and was lbw for 18.

Leaning soon lost his off-stump to Shane Snater before Harry Finch was lbw to Matt Critchley, his sixth wicket in the match.

That saw Joe Denly, who twice advanced down the wicket and hit Harmer over long leg for six, joined in the middle by his nephew.

The younger Denly rode his luck early on against Harmer and Critchley before rocking on to the back foot to ease the latter through the covers for his first four.

When their partnership reached 50, from 88 balls, there was an equal split in contributions, but almost immediately Porter had Joe Denly whipping the ball off his legs and into the hands of Feroze Khushi at bat-pad.

Wes Agar drove Porter to Snater to become the seventh wicket to fall.

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