Kent slip to Yorkshire defeat
Kent slip to Yorkshire defeat

Prolonged Kentish resistance eventually counted for little as Yorkshire’s persistent attack mopped up the seven wickets required to secure a 172-run Specsavers County Championship win over Kent in Canterbury.

Facing an improbable 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 stoical 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 Klassen, the 26-year-old night watchman 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 after an ugly, low-handed defensive prod.

Bell-Drummond, who offered two chances that were both dropped in the cordon by Lyth, moved past 5,000 first-class career runs during his 170-minute stay and was nine 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 15.1 overs to spare.

Coad led the bowling plaudits with six wickets, two go with his two previous five-wicket hauls this summer, and Olivier two for 92 in clinching unbeaten Yorkshire’s second win of the campaign that takes them to second spot in the table. After their second defeat on returning to Division One Kent slip to fifth.

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 bight us in the backside with losses.

“It was a valiant effort, but without the rewards we’d have liked.”

Yorkshire seamer Steven Patterson, who provided excellent support to the likes of Coad and Olivier, said: “The first couple of games went pretty well. We had a little break for the 50-over stuff, but we felt in good form coming back into this game of red-ball cricket, and we seem like we picked up where we left off. So, we’re delighted with the victory.

“It was a tough game this week, and we’ve had to really work hard and earn the right to win. From being 90 odd for six on the first morning and 120 for seven, to somehow put ourselves in a position to win by nearly 200 runs is a testament to the lads’ work over the four days.

“We toiled very hard for three-and-a-half days and we’ve got our rewards. After those first couple sessions, we picked it up and I’d say we were on top after that.

“That second morning taking only one wicket was difficult, but we came back well after lunch and got five in the session. From then, we drove the game.

“If you’re going to win a game like that, you need more than one person to chip in. Gary Ballance’s hundred was outstanding and Coady’s six-for today, but everybody made their own contributions and pushed us towards getting there in the end.

“I’m not quite sure how Tim Bresnan is after limping off there. He’s got an issue with his calf. I’m not too sure what him and the physio have discussed yet. We’ve just focused on the game. There’s 10 days until our next game, and over the next two or three they’ll decide where he’s at.”