A double-wicket maiden from Mitchell Claydon was the highlight of a frustrating day for Kent on Day Three against Yorkshire at The Spitfire Ground, St. Lawrence.
In ideal batting conditions in Canterbury and on a pitch deadened by third-morning use of the heavy roller, Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance scored a season’s best 159 from 291 balls as the visitors amassed 469, for a lead of 383 runs.
Ballance and fourth-wicket partner Jack Leaning batted throughout the morning session without alarm and went on to add 188 in 61 overs either side of lunch with Leaning reaching his 50 from 168 balls and with 10 fours.
The stand ended in the mid-session when Leaning, on 69, played across one from Matt Milnes to become only the second ‘leg-before’ victim of the game.
Ballance finally succumbed after playing back to a shooting off-cutter from Daniel Bell-Drummond that slid down the Canterbury slope to hit near the base of the sumps.
Despite taking the second new ball, Kent still struggled to roll over the Tykes tail and the majority made double-digit contributions.
After tea, Jon Tattersall sparred at a Matt Milnes leg-cutter to be caught behind, Tim Bresnan chopped on when attempting a back-foot force, and three balls later, Steven Patterson perished in near identical fashion.
Dom Bess miscued a short one from Podmore to mid-on and Ben Coad, after a career-best 35, skied to point to give Podmore a second wicket. Claydon finished with three for 83.
In the day’s 10 remaining overs, the hosts lost Sean Dickson only eight balls into the reply. Having been hit of the bicep by a fierce no ball bumper from Duanne Olivier, Dickson turned the next delivery to Harry Brook under the helmet at short leg.
In the fifth over Zak Crawley, on nine, pushed half-forward and outside the line of a Ben Coad off-cutter to go LBW. In his next over, Coad ripped out the off and leg stumps of Matt Renshaw with another low-bouncing off-cutter to end the Australian Test batsman’s final innings of his Kentish stay.
The hosts suffered no further alarms and went in at stumps on 34 for three with Daniel Bell-Drummond yet to get off the mark with nightwatchman Fred Klaassen (3*). They will require a further 352 for victory on the final day.
Kent’s interim skipper Heino Kuhn said: “That heavy roller killed the pitch a bit, there wasn’t much pace or bounce in it today.
“I don’t think we put enough balls in the right areas for long enough. That was our plan, but you have to give Yorkshire a lot of credit, I thought they batted well with the big hundred from Ballance that helped to build a couple of big partnerships that have batted us out of the game.
“Losing three wickets late tonight hasn’t helped the mood either, but we’ll come back in the morning and try harder. Deep down, we still believe we have enough quality to bat through the day and we’re going to give it our best go.”