Regaining fitness after a serious ankle injury, England batsman Joe Denly is now focussed on scoring his first century in the longest format during the New Zealand Test series.

Denly had damaged his ankle ligament when he tripped on the boundary rope while training ahead of the T20I series and initial results suggested he would fail to recover in time for the Test series which begins on November 21 (Thursday).

However, Denly returned to the side with a bang, scoring an assured half-century against New Zealand A in the warm-up game in Whangarei, demonstrating his fitness and desire to seal his place in England’s Test top order.

“I was very disappointed when [I got injured] just before the T20 series,” Denly said.

“When I first did it, I was probably thinking my tour was over. It was pretty nasty, a tough one to take, and it always touch and go to get ready for this game [against New Zealand A].”

“It’s settled down nicely. There’s no discomfort. The running between the wickets and playing all the shots feels fine. It’s just a case of monitoring it and making sure it doesn’t swell up,” said Denly, who smashed seven fours and three sixes in his knock of 68.

Denly, who made his Test debut against West Indies in January this year, has already scored four fifties in eight matches for England. He came close to scoring a century in the second innings of the final Ashes Test at the Oval in September but fell six runs short.