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Denly dominates to boost Kent

Joe Denly made a superb century Getty Images

Glamorgan 18 for 1 trail Kent 302 (Denly 152, Hogan 4-44)

Joe Denly's 23rd first-class century led a spirited Kent fightback on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match with Division Two rivals Glamorgan in Canterbury.

The hosts had lost four wickets and Denly had yet to get off the mark after Glamorgan's pace attack made a fiery start on a well-grassed pitch, but 31-year-old Denly dug in to post his fourth championship ton of the summer and lead the hosts to relative riches at 302 all out.

In the 13 overs through to stumps, Glamorgan reached 18 for 1 to trail by 284 runs. The visitors, who named seven graduates from the junior Welsh ranks in their starting XI, lost Nick Selman in the third over to a catch at the wicket off Adam Milne, but played with spirit thereafter in fast fading light.

Batting first when Glamorgan opted to bowl after an uncontested toss, Kent were indebted to No. 3 Denly for contributing over half the home total and for salvaging the innings from the depths of 39 for 4.

Kent lost both openers within the first 37 deliveries of the match. Sean Dickson, prodding outside off against Michael Hogan, edged low to David Lloyd at slip, then, to the next delivery from Lucas Carey, Daniel Bell-Drummond aimed an expansive drive without moving his feet and feathered one though to the gloves of Chris Cooke.

The Kent malaise worsened when skipper Sam Northeast chased a wide, floating away-swinger from Carey to be caught at slip and soon after, Sam Billings' 14-ball stay ended for 18. Pushing on the back foot to a Rory Smith away-swinger that started on a fourth-stump line and kept swinging, Billings lamely followed to edge to the keeper. The right-hander also stood his ground, forcing umpire Nigel Cowley, officiating in his final game, to raise the finger.

With Denly becalmed on a single for 45 minutes, the hosts finally raised their 50 in the 19th over, but the interval only served to break Zak Crawley's concentration and his useful contribution ended in the second over after the resumption. Aiming a leg-side flick against Hogan, he found a leading edge to balloon a simple catch to mid-off.

Hogan struck again soon after, snaring Darren Stevens lbw with an off-cutter that darted back up the slope while Stevens shouldered arms.

Denly and Callum Haggett joined forces to add a useful 87 until Haggett fell just before tea, departing lbw after working across the line of a Lloyd in-swinger.

Denly found another willing ally in Milne who played some eye-catching drives in moving to 33 for his part in an eighth-wicket stand of 57. Milne ought to have gone for 28 when he skied to deep square leg, only to be downed by Connor Brown. The blunder mattered little, however, as Milne soon nicked to slip against Craig Meschede to spark a secondary collapse.

Denly posted his 10,000th run in first-class cricket and moved past 150 from 200 balls but, after 300 minutes at the crease, he danced down the pitch to Lloyd aiming an expansive lofted shot only to be bowled.

Kent debutant Grant Stewart got off the mark with a rasping pulled boundary against Smith but, with the new ball available, Hogan returned to have last man Imran Qayyum caught at second slip Hogan finished with 4 for 44, but Kent also had reason to be pleased with a comeback that ultimately reaped three batting bonus points.