Denly sparks Kent fightback
Kent 419 v Derbyshire 535 and 181
Joe Denly missed out on a maiden double century by one run as Kent fought back against Derbyshire to set up an intriguing final day to the County Championship match at Derby.
Denly's 199 in 415 minutes saved the visitors from following on despite another five-wicket haul from paceman Tony Palladino, who bagged his 50th championship victim of the summer. Azhar Mahmood also contributed 97 as Kent were dismissed for 419 to trail Derbyshire by 116, before David Balcombe grabbed three quick wickets to reduce the hosts to 29 for 4.
Wayne Madsen's first championship half-century since May eventually saw Derbyshire to 181 all out in their second innings, and left Kent needing 298 for victory. They lost nightwatchman Adam Riley before stumps to close on 0 for one.
Kent went into the third morning trailing by 256, but Denly and Mahmood took their fifth-wicket stand to 151 in 39 overs before Derbyshire broke through with the second new ball.
Mahmood was in sight of his first century for three years when he fell across the crease at Palladino and was lbw, but he had played a big part in keeping his team in the game. Palladino celebrated his 50th wicket when he knocked Geraint Jones' off-stump out with Kent still 24 away from the follow-on of 386, but Denly took them past that target just before lunch.
The opener had played with authority since he was dropped behind on 33 the previous day and a double hundred looked his for the taking when he tried to steer Mark Footitt to backward point and was caught at first slip.
Denly had batted for six minutes short of seven hours and, although Palladino struck again to finish with five for 84, an injury depleted Kent team had shown real character to fight back. Derbyshire still had a healthy lead but Balcombe made sure the momentum stayed with Kent by taking a wicket in each of his first three overs.
Matt Lineker was caught behind carving, Paul Borrington edged a drive to gully and first-innings centurion Wes Durston was snared low down at first slip to give Balcombe figures of three for seven in 14 balls. Matt Coles then had Dan Redfern caught at third slip but Madsen played his first major innings in the competition since scoring a century and a fifty against Kent at Canterbury to keep the game in the balance.
Madsen shared half-century stands with Ross Whiteley and Tim Groenewald before he was caught behind cutting at Darren Stevens, who polished off the innings with a burst of three for two in six balls. After a rain delay of 48 minutes, the umpires took the players out for one over at 6.30pm and Riley survived one ball before Palladino had him caught behind down the legside.