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Bell-Drummond ton as Kent battle
Bell-Drummond ton as Kent battle

A second century in as many games for Daniel Bell-Drummond helped Kent recover from early strife to claim the opening day’s honours in their LV= Insurance County Championship fixture against Yorkshire at Headingley.

This Division One clash features two counties dealing with injury issues, but it was the visitors who will be much the happier after being invited to bat and slipping to 20 for three following a blistering new ball spell from Haris Rauf.

They closed on 270 for six from 81 overs, of which Bell-Drummond scored 109. Fifteen overs were lost through two stoppages for bad light.

The 28-year-old shared a partnership of 133 for the fourth wicket either side of lunch with Jordan Cox (68) after Pakistan overseas quick Rauf’s early triple strike included England opener Zak Crawley lbw for four.

This was Yorkshire’s first day of home cricket in 2022 after a winter of off-field disquiet, and it ended with Ollie Robinson a late departure for 58.

It did not yield the inroads Yorkshire would have hoped for after encouraging away performances in victory over Gloucestershire and a draw against Northamptonshire. 

But, even though approximately 2,000 supporters had to brave the chill of an overcast late April day, it would have been a relief to see the likes of homegrown favourites Steve Patterson and Jordan Thompson bound into the crease.

The last time home debutant Rauf played on this ground, in a T20 international last year, he was smashed for six high over the newly named Howard Stand (named after the late Keith Howard, founder of the Emerald Group) by Liam Livingstone.

This was a much better experience as, bowling from the same end, he had Ben Compton (3) caught behind, Crawley lbw playing to leg and Jack Leaning lbw stuck on the crease for a two-ball duck against his former side. He finished with three for 52 from 11 overs.

Stand-in captain Leaning’s departure in his first appearance of the season after a hamstring injury left Kent 20 for three inside 10 overs. But then came the Bell-Drummond led revival.

Kent came into this match on the back of a draw and two defeats. 

Bell-Drummond scored a 149 in the second of those defeats, against Hampshire last week.

They are without Jackson Bird (shoulder) and have left out Darren Stevens despite a recent hamstring niggle, though have included South African overseas all-rounder George Linde for the first time following a groin injury.

Kent centurion Daniel Bell-Drummond said:

“If you’d have asked us at 20 for three, we’re very happy with where we’re at.

“We’d have liked to have had myself and Ollie (Robinson) in with the second new ball coming at the end of the day. But it wasn’t to be.

“There’s a bit in the wicket if you bowl well. If you don’t, there’s runs to be scored.

“I think we’re pretty content, and the guys still to come to the crease can also bat. 

“It’s extremely pleasing for myself. I feel in a good place, and I was able to capitalise on that. It’s very different conditions at Canterbury, but I took the confidence from that game (Hampshire) into this. It was a different kind of knock, but one I’m very happy with.”

Yorkshire’s Dom Bess said: 

“Three wickets in half an hour, you’re probably being quite greedy and looking at batting by tea-time. But it showed that it’s a really good wicket.

“It’s also quite quick-scoring here. If you’re not on with the ball, you can leak and be quite expensive at times.

“Haris (Rauf) bowled really well to start with, but our standards weren’t as good. 

“It was one of those days. 270 for six, you can look at it and say it’s quite even. “If we can get them for under 300, it’s a good pitch and with our batting line-up, we should be going on past that. But let’s get to that tomorrow.”