Gilchrist shines as Kent draw
Gilchrist shines as Kent draw

Nathan Gilchrist claimed a superb four for 74 in his second first-class game as Kent’s LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Yorkshire ended in a draw at Emerald Headingley.

During an entertaining shortened final day, Gary Ballance fell four runs short of a 41st career century and a first since July 2019 following illness and injury.

A wet outfield delayed day four until 2.45pm – a knock-on effect of the day three washout – and both sides secured useful bonus points.

Yorkshire, who remain second in the table, resumed their first innings on 240 for five from 77 overs in reply to 305 and ended 321 all out inside 106 thanks to Ben Coad’s unbeaten 33 off as many balls at number 10.

Yorkshire have now won three and drawn two and claimed 13 points, while Kent secured 14 but remain bottom with two draws and three defeats. 

What is expected to be the final day of cricket without a Headingley crowd was delayed due to a damp Emerald Stand end of the ground.

Yorkshire were aiming for as many as 160 runs in 33 overs for five batting points, with Kent requiring four wickets for three bowling points.Ballance resumed on 91 and was one of three wickets to fall before tea – 269 for eight in the 97th over.

Ballance pulled Darren Stevens for four to move to 96, only to fall run out by a direct hit from Marcus O’Riordan at the striker’s end after Dom Bess had pushed the ball to backward point. 

It seemed as if it was Ballance’s decision to run.

Play was taking place under floodlights, and the early setback of losing Ballance and Bess – bowled by Stevens to leave the score at 256 for seven – limited their run-scoring expectations.

Jordan Thompson and Steve Patterson attempted to up the ante, only for the latter to be caught behind cutting at seamer Gilchrist at the start of the afternoon’s final over.

Coad came to the crease immediately after tea and dominated a 35-run stand for the ninth wicket with Thompson, hitting four of his first 12 balls to the boundary.

A brief delay for bad light at 5pm was initially interpreted as the end of the fixture by onlookers, only for play to resume 10 minutes later with Yorkshire 304 for nine in the 104th over. But Duanne Olivier holed out to long-on off Jack Leaning shortly afterwards to bring things to a close.

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Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale said: 

“I thought we bowled nicely in this game and had them on the rack for a while before they had a good partnership at the end of their innings.

“We batted nicely and picked up a few more batting points. We have spoken about that a lot, and that was a positive. Gary Ballance back amongst the runs as well. 

“Overall it was a frustrating few days with the weather, but there were still some positives we could take.”

**There is also an update on the availability of Yorkshire’s England trio, Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan and Joe Root.

Bairstow and Malan are in quarantine following the IPL and won’t be available for Glamorgan on Thursday. Root will play.

But Yorkshire’s next game after that is Lancashire at the end of May.**

Gale added: “I’ve spoken to Jonny, and he’s an England player. We will have to see what the ECB say about him. 

“I’ll have to chat to Dawid. I’m hopeful that he will be available for the Lancashire game. Joe won’t be available for that because he will be getting ready for the Test Match.”

Kent seamer Nathan Gilchrist: 

“It’s been good after a tough start to the season. We’ve shown some real character this week.

“If it wasn’t for the rain, we could have had a really positive week. There were some positive performances. Hopefully we can build on that going forwards.

“It’s only my second game, so I’m still trying to find my feet. But it’s very pleasing to get a few wickets.”