Prolonged, stoic Kentish resistance eventually succumbed as Yorkshire’s persistent attack eventually secured the seven wickets required to earn a 172-run Specsavers County Championship win over Kent in Canterbury, the hosts picking up five bonus points.
Facing a victory target of 384 and after their brave rear-guard action at the start of the day, the hosts did superbly well to take the match into its final session before White Rose seamer Ben Coad mopped up the tail with a season’s best six for 52.
The fourth day started with a gritty, hard-fought fourth-wicket stand between Daniel Bell-Drummond and Fred Klaassen which frustrated the Tykes’ attack throughout the opening session in adding 54 runs inside 34 overs either side of lunch.
Yorkshire finally broke through soon after the resumption when Klaassen, the 26-year-old nightwatchman making his Championship debut for Kent, steered one from Duanne Olivier to second slip to end his two-and-a-half hour, 110-ball stay for 13.
Hampered by the loss of Tim Bresnan to a calf injury – the former England seamer slipped over when delivering his first ball of day and limped off after completing only two overs –Yorkshire’s attack continued to chip away to pick up three more wickets in the mid-session.
Interim Kent captain Heino Kuhn, who has one first-class 50 to date this season, went for a seven-ball duck when nicking to second slip.
Bell-Drummond moved past 5,000 first-class career runs during his 170-minute stay and was nine runs short of a battling 50 when he played across one from Steven Patterson to go LBW.
Then, after being checked out for concussion following a fearsome blow on the helmet from an Olivier bouncer, Kent’s first innings century-maker Ollie Robinson drove a slower ball away-swinger from Ben Coad to Gary Ballance at cover to make it 142 for seven.
Alex Blake and Harry Podmore resisted for 22 overs either side of tea until the introduction of off-spinner Jack Leaning accounted for Blake, ‘leg-before’ when prodding outside the line of an arm-ball.
With 24 overs remaining, Yorkshire took the second new ball through Coad and Olivier, but Podmore and Matt Milnes continued Kent’s defiance into the final hour of the match.
Moments later, Coad ran one up the slope to pluck out Podmore’s middle stump for 29, scored in a shade under two hours then, in his next over same bowler had last man Mitch Claydon caught at short leg to secure victory with only 15.1 overs to spare.
Kent’s head coach Matt Walker said: “I’m very proud of the fight we showed today but we knew we needed to show that type of character if we were to get anywhere near the finish line for a draw.
“It was very unlikely we could win, but I still wanted to see some fight and hunger to try and bat the day out and I applaud the lads for their character. It wasn’t quite enough in the end, but it was good that they showed the desire that we’ve come to expect from this young group of lads.
“We didn’t really lose this match today, truth is we weren’t quite good enough over the full course of the four days. But at least we scrapped.
“We know we will have to work bloody hard to win games here in Division One and we can’t afford to take our foot off the gas at any stage. We’ve done that a couple of times already this season, at Taunton and again here, and it came back to bite us in the backside with losses.
“It was a valiant effort, but without the rewards we’d have liked.”
With credit to the ECB Reporters’ Network