JOE Denly demonstrated immense powers of concentration in the sweltering heat to steer Kent into a position of strength on day three of the County Championship Division Two clash with Worcestershire.

The 31-year-old batsman resumed on his overnight 69 and batted for a total of nearly eight hours in scoring a career-best 227 out of 474 all out to leave Worcestershire a daunting 399 target.

His marathon knock at New Road surpassed his 206 not out against Northampton at Wantage Road last season.

It rescued Kent from the possibility of losing inside three days after they had lost their sixth wicket shortly before lunch with an overall lead of only 129.

Now they will have high hopes of pushing for victory with Pakistan wrist spinner Yasir Shah the ace up their sleeve on a good wicket for batting.

On the longest day of the year Denly’s superb knock must also have felt never-ending for the wilting County attack who stuck gamely to their task but were gradually worn down in the soaring temperatures.

It was his second century in three Championship matches and gave Kent a strong platform to test the resolution of the home side in the top-three promotion battle.

He was given excellent support by wicketkeeper Adam Rouse (68) in a stand of 149 in 39 overs for a Kent seventh-wicket record in matches against Worcestershire.

Denly had batted for 468 minutes, faced 320 balls and struck 24 fours and five sixes when he finally holed out to Ed Barnard at long off against Joe Leach.

It had been a different scenario at the start of the day after County skipper Leach bowled an impressive opening spell which yielded two wickets.

Joe Weatherley (24) had not added to his overnight score when he was caught at second slip by Daryl Mitchell and then Darren Stevens (19) shouldered arms and was trapped lbw.

Denly went to three figures with a six over long on off England's Moeen Ali.

When Will Gidman (19) drove at John Hastings and nicked through to Ross Whiteley at first slip Kent were in some discomfort at 205-6.

But then Rouse proved a willing ally for Denly and the pair flourished with the former reaching a determined half-century off 105 balls.

A wicket did not fall in the afternoon session until the last ball before tea when Rouse (68) popped a Moeen delivery up to short leg.

There was no respite after the resumption for the hosts as Matt Coles clubbed 39 and Yasir Shah 27 in stands of 54 and 41.

Denly’s double ton came up off 299 balls with 23 fours and three sixes and a two off Josh Tongue brought him his new career best.

County openers Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliveira negotiated five overs in reaching 16-0 by the close.