England's Denly has maiden Test century in his sights

By Sports Desk January 10, 2020

Joe Denly is confident he will soon make a century for England as he looks to continue his role as a steadying hand in the middle order.

Denly is yet to reach a ton for England from 23 Test innings, though he has shown consistency with the bat while players around him – such as captain Joe Root – have struggled, and did hit 103 against South Africa A in a warm-up match last month.

However, Denly is content to keep on playing the role of a batsman who can be relied on to reach double figures, having scored 50, 31, 38 and 31 in his four innings so far against South Africa.

The third Test starts in Port Elizabeth next Thursday.

"Certainly, I'm becoming more confident with each game I play, each knock I have," Denly, whose highest Test score for England is the 94 he struck against Australia in the Ashes, told reporters.

"It is frustrating that I haven't kicked on to get that really big score but I really believe it is just a matter of time if I keep doing the things I've been doing, which is being solid up front and building partnerships to allow these guys in the middle order to come in and play the way they can play."

With England playing without a full-time spinner in the first Test against South Africa, Denly stepped up to help fill the void, and continued to do so at Newlands alongside Dom Bess. Denly took two wickets – including that of in-form Quinton de Kock from a long-hop – as the tourists levelled up the four-match series at 1-1.

"It's nice to be able to chip in here and there with a few overs and pick up wickets like I did in that second innings," Denly said.

"That second one probably isn't one you dream of taking but De Kock is a fine player so I don't really care how I get him out as long as he's out.

"I like to consider myself more than a part-timer. I feel I have something to offer in both the red-ball and white-ball games. Certainly, on day-five pitches when there is a lot of rough outside the off stump to the left-handers I can play a part."

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