Kent edge first day at Canterbury
Kent edge first day at Canterbury

An engaging and hard-fought opening day to this 204th first-class battle between Kent and Yorkshire ended with the hosts edging proceedings courtesy of a gritty, unbeaten half-century from Zak Crawley.

By stumps at a bright, breezy yet chilly Canterbury, Kent closed on 130 for four to trail by 80 runs going into day two of this Specsavers County Championship first division match.

Kent’s first day of top-flight cricket at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in almost nine years went well from the off as they dismissed Yorkshire for 210 within two sessions.

Matt Milnes, with three for 63, and Harry Podmore, who took two for 33, were the pick of the home attack as the visitors succumbed inside 57 overs.

In the face of some testing bowling Kent’s response started meekly when, in the fourth over, Sean Dickson played across a full-length ball from Duanne Olivier to lose middle stump.

Australian Test left-hander Matt Renshaw, in his farewell match for Kent, reached 16 with four crisp boundaries before being drawn toward a Ben Coad leg-cutter that he edged to slip.

Then, with 51 on the board, Tom Kohler-Cadmore landed an early blow in the battle of the hyphenated surnames when he pouched a tumbling low slip catch to his right off Daniel Bell-Drummond’s outside edge to give Tim Bresnan a first-over scalp.

After almost 90 minutes at the crease Crawley reached 30 to become top-scorer of the day, but moments later Heino Kuhn’s late decision to cut against Bresnan led to an edged catch to slip.

Bresnan and Steven Patterson combined to provide a stern examination but Crawley and fifth-wicket partner Ollie Robinson rode the storm to take Kent’s total into three figures with Crawley posting a 76-ball 50 with 10 fours.

The pair added an unbroken 59 through to stumps with Robinson contributing 14 not out and Crawley an unbeaten 73.

Despite losing the toss, Kent made best of starts with a first-ball wicket from Podmore, who ran one down the slope to graze the outside edge of Adam Lyth’s bat for a catch at second slip.

On his championship debut, Kent’s Netherlands left-arm seamer Fred Klaassen struck with his fifth ball as first change by removing former England left-hander Gary Balance with an away-swinger that Balance nicked to the keeper.

Podmore sent Harry Brook packing for 29 off 26 balls when Brook, who was taking guard on middle and off, inexplicably walked further across his wickets in aiming to mid-on only to leave the path clear for Podmore to peg back leg.

Podmore rested after a fine stint of 7-3-12-2, but Yorkshire’s demise continued when Kohler-Cadmore called Jack Leaning through for a risky single that led to Leaning’s run out to Heino Kuhn’s direct hit from mid-on to the striker’s end stumps.

Kohler-Cadmore compounded his bad call by top-edging a pull against Milnes to long leg then, in the last over before lunch, Bresnan fended a lifting leg-cutter from Milnes to third slip.

Kent picked up a seventh scalp early in the mid-session when a perfectly pitched leg-cutter from Milnes clipped the top of Dom Bess’s off stump as the right-hander pushed defensively off the back foot.

Mitch Claydon was rewarded for his hostile spell from the Nackington Road End when he snared Jon Tattersall leg before with a shooting off-cutter, then Bell-Drummond, fast becoming Kent’s partnership breaker, induced Coad to drive at an away-swinger and toe-end an overhead catch to gully.

Last-wicket partners Olivier and Patterson hit out lustily to see the visitors pass 200 for a single batting bonus point before Claydon finger-tipped Olivier’s mistimed pull onto the non-striker’s end stumps to run out Patterson.

Harry Podmore, who took a wicket with his first delivery of the day, said: “Moving from white ball to red ball there’s going to be a difference in performance but we adjusted really well and if you put the ball in the right areas these Canterbury pitches offer something for the bowlers.

“With the new groundsman here the wickets, and particularly the one-day pitches, have been awesome and it was nice to get some bounce and carry through to the keeper today.

“My personality is that I’m always striving for better. I got two decent early wickets and felt I should have followed up with a few more, but that’s cricket and hopefully we can come back tomorrow and push on.

“We had them 90-odd for six, but gone are the days in cricket when 8, 9, 10 and 11 can’t bat anymore and Yorkshire proved that today. We’ve got a tail that can bat too, but we’ve still got Zak Crawley at the crease. He’s been tremendous this season so far and is going to be a very good player. He’s young, hungry with a calm head on young shoulders and I’m happy for him.”

Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan, who took two wickets having suffered a four-ball duck, said: “We’re doing okay considering we’ve possibly misjudged the pitch. It’s offered a lot to the seamers throughout the day, even when the ball has got slightly older.

“The lads that got into the 20s batting for us said they never really felt in and felt they could nick-off at any moment. I reckon we misread it at the toss, but that happens some days. The overhead conditions were perfect for batting and it looked like a shirtfront, but it’s offered help all day.

“It’s not a 210 all out wicket though and we’ve made mistakes through the top six and beyond. We’ve only got ourselves to blame, but I thought we fought back well with the ball.

“They’ve finished on 130 for four and we feel hard done by. They could easily have been 90 for six or seven, so I think we’ll get our rewards tomorrow if we keep at it.”