Runs flow at Derby
Runs flow at Derby

Kent’s promotion drive ran into a Derbyshire roadblock on another day of batting dominance in the Division Two County Championship match at Derby.

After Kent had amassed 561 with Grant Stewart scoring 85 and Matt Henry a career-best 81 from 75 balls, Derbyshire made a spirited reply to close on 210 for 2, 351 behind.

Billy Godleman scored 71 and Wayne Madsen an unbeaten 60 on a lifeless pitch although Derbyshire seamer Tony Palladino finished with 5 for 113, the 15th five wicket haul of his career.

Kent’s first target at the start of day two was 400 and they secured maximum batting points for the first time this season with seven overs to spare before Stewart and Henry moved into overdrive.

Palladino found some away movement to have Daniel Bell-Drummond caught behind for 44 but for the rest of the morning, the ball sped towards and over the ropes as the eighth wicket pair added 119 in 20 overs.

Derbyshire’s bowlers were unable to apply any pressure as Stewart and Henry moved into overdrive with Henry launching consecutive balls from leg-spinner Matt Critchley into the car park.

The New Zealander, who played for Derbyshire in last season’s T20, pulled Alex Hughes for a third six before the seamer broke the stand by bowling Stewart for an excellent 85 four overs before lunch.

Kent had scored 169 runs in the session and Henry pulled Palladino for another six to pass his previous highest score of 75 before he skied a pull to point.

Adam Riley fell to the next ball to give Palladino his fifth five wicket haul against Kent but Derbyshire now had a lot of batting to do to reach the follow-on target of 412.

But the pitch had offered little for the bowlers and Godleman and Lace began confidently with the 20-year-old on-loan Middlesex batsman playing with authority on his first-class debut.

Lace looked secure in defence and he hit seven fours before Ivan Thomas brought one back enough to trap him in front shortly before tea.

Godleman had scored his first championship century of the season in the previous game at Hove and with Madsen playing positively from the start, Kent were becoming increasingly desperate for a wicket.

Thomas did the trick again when he was brought back at the City End and his second ball beat Godleman’s defensive push and knocked back the off-stump.

Derbyshire needed Madsen to be there at stumps and he batted through the final 12 overs in company with Hughes to suggest Kent’s bowlers have a lot of hard toil ahead of them in this match.

Kent’s Matt Henry said: “There’s no doubt it’s a really good wicket and we are going to have to bowl really well but as long as we stay patient and disciplined for long periods of time we will give ourselves a good chance.”

On his career-best 81 he said: “I just wanted to keep things pretty simple and we talked earlier about batting as long as we can. It was good to get a fifth bonus point and from then on it was about keep batting and keep them out there as long as we possibly could.”

Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman said: “When the bowlers bowl full at the stumps and set the right field it can be difficult to score but it was important in that period before tea not to have too many wickets down.

“I thought Tom Lace on debut lined the ball up incredibly well and although he would have wanted more than 40 the role he played for us as a team in getting through that first spell was really important.”