MCC v Warwicks, Champion County Match, Abu Dhabi, 3rd day March 26, 2013

Denly leads MCC fightback

ESPNcricinfo staff

MCC 130 (Wright 5-35, Hannon-Dalby 3-30) and 308 for 4 (Denly 119*, Northeast 89, Trego 57*) trail Warwickshire 561 for 6 dec by 123 runs

Joe Denly struck an unbeaten century to bring an element of competition to the Champion County match against Warwickshire in Abu Dhabi. After being made to follow on, Sam Northeast and Peter Trego also added half-centuries as MCC closed 123 runs behind with six second-innings wickets standing.

Having resumed in a parlous state on 73 for 7, MCC were dismissed for 130. Denly returned after retiring with illness earlier in the innings and top-scored with 47, putting on 52 with James Middlesbrook, before Oliver Hannon-Dalby took the last two wickets to fall in consecutive deliveries. Denly was quickly back out in the middle, as Jimmy Adams departed for 4, but a 156-run partnership for the second wicket with Northeast helped ease MCC away from total embarrassment.

"It's been a good day," Denly said. "I was disappointed to get out in the first innings the way I did, but I was very happy to spend some time out there second time around and get some runs. I didn't really notice any change in the conditions during the day. Under the lights it skidded on a bit quicker, but this actually helped it to come on the bat quite nicely. In terms of the ball moving sideways or swinging, it was pretty consistent all day."

Chris Wright, who claimed 5 for 35 in the first innings, removed Northeast on the brink of tea and Dale Benkenstein fell to the first ball after the resumption but Denly batted gamely on and was involved in an unbroken stand of 79 with Trego during the evening session. The MCC batsmen were not unduly troubled second time around, although they still have some work to do to avoid defeat after conceding a first-innings deficit of 431.

"If we can get another couple of big partnerships tomorrow to keep them out in the field for a bit longer, hopefully we can come away with a positive result," Denly said.

Warwickshire were forced to bring on Peter McKay as a substitute wicketkeeper after Tim Ambrose sustained a strain early in MCC's second innings, while left-arm spinner Paul Best also left the field with a back injury after bowling just eight overs and taking the wicket of Adams.