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Dickson and Denly make Northamptonshire suffer

Kent 434 for 1 (Dickson 210*, Denly 143*) v Northamptonshire
Scorecard

Sean Dickson hit a career-best unbeaten double century and Joe Denly notched his third hundred of the summer as Kent enjoyed a first-day run fest in their Specsavers County Championship match with Northamptonshire in Beckenham.

Kent cashed in on a Worsley Bridge Road shirt-front after winning the toss to post 434 for 1 after 96 overs with Dickson and Denly unbeaten on 210 and 143 respectively as Sam Northeast's promotion-chasers racked up maximum batting bonus points at a canter.

The total already represents Kent's best at this venue, while Dickson's 210 is his career-best as well as the highest individual score at the ground, beating Ben Duckett's 207* here last season. Dickson also became the first Kent player in history to post double tons as his first two first-class centuries for the county.

In adding an unbroken 305 the pair also moved past the previous second-wicket record of 260 against Northamptonshire set by Arthur Fagg and Frank Woolley at Canterbury in 1934. And, when Denly pulled a short one from Nathan Buck for four in the day's penultimate over, he raised their 300 stand to beat Kent's record for any wicket against Northants of 296 set by Ken Hutchings and Frank Woolley at Gravesend in 1908. For good measure, the stand is also a record for any wicket at the ground.

As for Northamptonshire, they will look to their ill fortune earlier in the day when they might have dismissed Dickson twice before he had even reached three figures.

Dickson, the 25-year-old South African right-hander, joined forces with fellow opener Daniel Bell-Drummond to post 129 either side of lunch - their second-best partnership of the season behind their 172 against Sussex at Tunbridge Wells last month.

Bell-Drummond went one short of his 50 soon after lunch when edging a back-foot defensive push to the keeper off Ben Sanderson and it transpired to be the visitors' sole success of the day.

Dickson was on 35 when he survived a concerted shout for lbw against Buck then, with his score on 97, Dickson drove hard at an away swinger from Buck only to be given the benefit of the doubt to another loud appeal for a catch behind the stumps.

With the luck on his side, Dickson marched on to a 165-ball 100 with 10 fours and a six then Denly reached the milestone from 132 balls with six fours and three sixes.

Northamptonshire tried permutating seven bowlers and delayed taking the second new ball in a desperate bid to curtail the run-rate but, when they finally did take it, their worst fears were realised as Denly cracked it to all parts in a sublime display of driving.

Just before the close, Dickson clipped sweetly off his pads against Steven Crook to hit the ropes for a 20th time and raise his double hundred from 280 balls.

Northamptonshire skipper Alex Wakely described Kent's run-fest as his'toughest day in any form of cricket', adding: "We've walked off with smiles on our faces because we're not quite sure what we might have done differently or what to say about it. A couple of opportunities and appeals didn't go our way early on but apart from that both Denly and Dickson played really well.

"I haven't had a tougher day in cricket than this and can't remember a day when we've only ever picked up one wicket in the three sessions. We've been playing some really good cricket of late so I'm going to give Kent the credit they deserve.

Dickson needs a further 66 runs on day two to better Matt Walker's all-time individual record total for the county,

He said: "I'm a little bit overwhelmed by it all at the moment if I'm quite honest and feel shattered. The last nine overs were a massive challenge for me out there and I just tried to remember what one old, wise man said to me the once , that 'double hundreds don't come your way every day'. I said to Joe that I needed a little energy spurt, a mind switch to get myself across the line to 200 and thankfully I found it from somewhere.

"There's a massive amount of emotion after this for me. I have made four ducks this season at at times it's been a massive mental struggle, but I've been hitting balls superbly well of late with no result."