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Kent give Yorkshire early lesson

Thursday 5th April 2012

Men’s First Team

Yorkshire were given an early warning that they will have to fight every inch of the way to get out of the Second Division as Kent's batsmen took control on the first day of the LV= Championship season at Headingley.

Winning the toss on a day of blue skies and unbroken sunshine, Kent made generally unruffled progress to 345 for five by the close, their only hiccup coming when skipper Rob Key was run out for a near flawless 97.

Yorkshire left out left-hander Adam Lyth and preferred rookie paceman Iain Wardlaw to Steve Patterson, while Kent went into the match with five new signings in their team.

One of them, Scott Newman, on loan from Middlesex, opened with Key and the pair quickly settled in against a four-man pace attack which caused few problems on a good batting surface.

Both batsmen attacked anything loose from the start and the new ball pairing of Ryan Sidebottom and Ajmal Shahzad gave way to Richard Pyrah and Wardlaw but they were unable to halt the run-a-minute progress, Key's straight drive for four off Pyrah taking his side to 57 in the first hour's play.

Several appeals went unanswered, including one for a catch behind the wicket when Newman was on 31, the batsman hitting back with 11 runs off Pyrah's next three deliveries.

Key's four through mid-wicket raised the century stand, the first by visiting openers since Yorkshire's first home match against Durham at Headingley last season.

Key's 50 arrived off 76 balls with eight fours and Newman followed him to the landmark after receiving 87 deliveries and striking nine boundaries, Kent going in to lunch on 117 for none.

Yorkshire had to wait until just after two o'clock before picking up their first wicket of the season as Sidebottom uprooted Newman's middle stump with a yorker for 64 from 116 balls with 11 fours, the partnership being worth 141.

Ben Harmison, signed from Durham, helped Key to keep Kent in charge and the captain looked a safe bet for a century until he drove leg-spinner Adil Rashid firmly to mid-off and tried to scamper a single but could not beat skipper Andrew Gale's direct hit on the stumps.

Key could barely conceal his disappointment at narrowly missing out on what would have been a fine century, his runs coming off 153 balls with 12 boundaries.

Yorkshire just could not take control of the game away from their opponents and former West Indies batsman Brendan Nash looked in prime form while Harmison struck Rashid sweetly over mid-wicket for the first six of the game but perished in the last over before tea when the same bowler had him caught at slip by Gary Ballance for 45.

Kent were 239 for three at the interval and Nash and Mike Powell, recruited from Glamorgan, continued to strengthen their position in the evening, Yorkshire striving hard but to little effect.

Nash in one over twice off-drove Rashid for boundaries and he glided Sidebottom to long leg for another four on his way to a 47-ball half-century which contained nine boundaries.

A third batting bonus point was secured at 302 for three in the 81st over and soon afterwards Nash had a piece of good fortune on 63 when he edged Shahzad to third slip where Rashid could not hold on to a fast chance.

The miss was not expensive, however, because four runs later he was beaten by a good ball from Shahzad and Anthony McGrath grasped a splendid right-handed catch low to the ground at second slip. Nash had laced his 67 with nine fours and faced 98 balls.

The home side enjoyed a success late in the day when Powell fell lbw to Rashid for 37 to leave Darren Stevens unbeaten on 22.

Click here for the scorecard

Yorkshire v Kent Day 1 from Kent Cricket on Vimeo.

Photo: Sarah Ansell