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    Denly and Bell-Drummond both scored centuries, effectively closing the door on Somerset
Denly and Bell-Drummond both scored centuries, effectively closing the door on Somerset
Kent captain Daniel Bell-Drummond scored a hundred to secure a draw. Source: Getty Images

Denly and Bell-Drummond both scored centuries, effectively closing the door on Somerset

Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond both scored centuries as Kent drew with Somerset in the Vitality County Championship at Canterbury.

Kent was initially struggling at 10 for 2 and later at 70 for 3. However, a partnership of 222 for the fourth wicket eased the pressure and they finished on 290 for 4 declared. Denly scored 110 runs from 142 balls, including 11 fours and a six, while Bell-Drummond made 107 not out from 169 balls, with 14 fours.

Somerset were bowled out for 403, a lead of 119, with Kasey Aldridge contributing 57 runs. Nathan Gilchrist had the best bowling figures for Kent with 3 for 64.

At the start of day four, the draw was the clear favourite and one 'win predictor' app claimed Kent's chances of winning were precisely zero. If any side had a realistic chance, it was the visitors.

Somerset resumed on 374 for 7 and immediately launched an attack. Aldridge, on 50 overnight, hit the first ball of the day for four and had a brilliant catch at mid-on by Gilchrist. Bell-Drummond then had Ned Leonard run out for 1. He bowled the stumps to short mid-on.

Jake Ball hit his first ball as a Somerset player for a six into the bottom of the Frank Woolley Stand. A fourth was secured when Josh Davey flicked Wes Agar to third man for a single, but the innings was over when Ball played on to Gilchrist.

Somerset clearly felt they were in with a chance as their batsmen sprinted for the pavilion. The more nervous home supporters soon began to worry. Kent had a minimum of 87 overs to navigate and lost both openers in the first five. In the fourth over, Ben Compton was caught out by Ball after being deceived by a delivery he did not expect to hit. Following this, Tawanda Muyeye hit a shot off Davey's bowling which was caught by Tom Banton at point.

Bell-Drummond and Jack Leaning steadied the situation by batting through until lunch, at which point the score was 68 for 2.

Somerset's hopes were raised again when Leaning was dismissed in the second over of the afternoon, bowled by Lewis Goldsworthy for 32. But Denly joined Bell-Drummond to quickly wipe out the deficit.

Attack was clearly the best form of defence for Denly, who also scored a century in his final red-ball innings for Kent in the final match of the 2023 season. He reached 50 from 53 balls, bringing up his half-century when he glanced Lewis Gregory for four.

Bell-Drummond reached the same landmark with a single from the same bowler. By tea, the score was 228 for 2. The tension had subsided, and as one observer put it, 'I've never been so delighted to be bored.'

Denly's century came with arguably his worst shot of the day, an edge for two off Goldsworthy that flew over slips, and Bell-Drummond's soon followed when he hit Goldsworthy over his head for four.

Denly was caught by Matt Renshaw in the slips off Goldsworthy's delivery in the final over. However, as both teams had lost any hope of winning, Kent declared at 4.50pm, and the match ended in a draw. Somerset earned 15 points, and Kent earned 12.

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