Northants v Kent, Specsavers Championship Div 2, Wantage Road, 2nd day May 16, 2016

Libby and Wakely set up Northants reply

ECB Reporters Network

Northamptonshire 206 for 3 (Wakely 87, Libby 81) trail Kent 396 (Denly 206*) by 190 runs

Alex Wakely worked hard for his runs on a sluggish pitch © Getty Images

Alex Wakely and Jake Libby provided a solid reply for Northamptonshire on the second day at Wantage Road with a stand of 156 for the second wicket. It was steady if unspectacular on a sluggish pitch as the home side closed 206 for 3 trailing Kent by 190 runs.

Batting was far from straightforward on another Wantage Road wicket offering no pace but Wakely and Libby steered the home side back into the game after Joe Denly made his maiden double century in the morning session. He was left unbeaten on 206 as Kent were bowled out for 396.

Libby was first to his half-century, in 128 balls with four fours and a six, with a well-timed flicked through midwicket, quickly followed by his captain Alex Wakely, who was slightly more positive and took 100 balls for his second fifty of the season.

Libby struggled slightly to move around the left-arm spin of Imran Qayyum - on first-class debut - but broke the shackles by shuffling down the wicket to hoist a six over long-on. This being Libby, the technique was perfectly textbook and he held the pose as the ball crashed into the Lynn Wilson stand. Wakely also found the stands, with a mighty hook off Calum Haggett. A full toss from Qayyum had also been dispatched over midwicket for his first six.

But the pair failed to convert their smart innings to centuries with dismissals in identical fashion. Haggett sent down wide tempters outside off stump and first Wakely, for 87, then Libby, for 81, chased after them and edged to wicketkeeper Adam Rouse.

In the morning session, Denly resumed on 126 and Kent 300 for 7. They lost Mitch Claydon in the fifth over of the day - running past a Monty Panesar delivery to be stumped for 16 - but thereafter Matt Hunn provided excellent support, lasting 46 balls, in a ninth-wicket stand of 68.

Denly flicked a six over midwicket to bring up a fourth batting bonus point in the 110th over and a second six was lofted into the pavilion as he went past the 199 he made at Derby back in 2011.

He ran out of partners when Hunn lost his off stump to Rob Keogh's first over of the day and Qayyum was caught behind for a golden duck.

Ben Duckett then slapped Darren Stevens straight to point to complete Kent's ideal morning but the game was left even by the close.