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Yorkshire on top at Headingley
Yorkshire on top at Headingley

England Test hopefuls Dawid Malan and Harry Brook contributed superb centuries to a Yorkshire revival sparked by Pakistan quick Haris Rauf on day two against Kent at Headingley.

Yorkshire’s hopes of winning a second LV= Insurance County Championship game in three to start 2022 are now high having been under day one pressure. 

Kent were 227 for four and started day two on 270 for six, only to fall to 291 all out as Rauf completed a career best five for 65 with two of the four wickets to fall inside 30 minutes of play.

Either side of lunch, Kent then impressively reduced Yorkshire’s reply to 23 for three inside 22 overs. 

But Malan and unbeaten Brook – 152 and a career best 131 – ensured their side hit back once again in the Headingley sunshine, uniting with confidence for a record fourth-wicket partnership of 269 inside 55 overs either side of tea to ensure Yorkshire closed on 326 for five from 86.

Play was halted for approximately 40 minutes from just before 2.20pm due to a medical emergency in the ground’s North East Corner, though the spectator was thankfully responsive when stretchered away. Ten overs were lost.

Malan and Brook are bidding to impress new England managing director Rob Key and co.

Malan, 34, was jettisoned from the Test following the Ashes, but his quality is clear to see and will hope to get the chance to increase an average of 27.53 across 22 Tests.

Brook, 23, made his England T20 debut in Barbados in January, but looks very much an all format player – as early season Championship scores of 101, 56 not out, 84 and 77 not out prior to this indicate.

On the back of two defeats in their opening three games and dealing with key injuries for Jackson Bird and Joe Denly, Kent have played some excellent cricket here – none more so than when bowling with the new ball. 

Rauf looked genuinely touched by the rapturous ovation he received from the crowd after removing Grant Stewart caught behind six balls into the day and then yorking Nathan Gilchrist. 

Kent would have been frustrated at falling below 300 given their good day one work. 

However, Stewart took the new ball from the Howard Stand End and bowled six successive maidens before being replaced by Gilchrist, who claimed two of the first three home wickets. 

He had Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne (4) caught behind following a loose drive and George Hill lbw as he shouldered arms – 19 for two in the 19th over.

More reward was to follow with the first ball of the afternoon when Adam Lyth feathered Matt Milnes behind down the leg side (23 for three inside 22).

Kent bowled 15 maidens in those first 22 overs, but only bowled another three for the rest of the day – an indication of the proactive manner in which Malan and Brook played all around the wicket.

It was a Yorkshire record for any wicket against Kent, beating a previous high of 267 set on this ground in 1934 by openers Wilf Barber and Len Hutton.

Malan and Brook reached their fifties before tea (143 for three from 48 overs), with Malan the first to his century off 136 balls afterwards. 

Brook, having hoisted George Linde’s left-arm spin for two sixes straight and over midwicket, was not far behind off 138. By that time, Yorkshire were 248 for three in the 68th. 

Malan has now scored three hundreds in four first-class appearances for Yorkshire at Headingley since moving from Middlesex ahead of 2020.

But he fell caught behind gloving a pull down leg the ball after pulling Matt Quinn for six to reach 150, secure a lead and bring upon the partnership record (292 for four).  

Quinn, bowling with the new ball, later trapped Harry Duke lbw. 

Yorkshire overseas bowler Haris Rauf said: 

“It was a very exciting moment for me when I took the five wickets and the crowd were cheering. I was very happy to see this. 

“County cricket is very hard, but I am trying my best for the team and to improve my skills.

“I want to learn. I have been told that if you come to county cricket, you will improve your bowling and it will help you a lot in international cricket. 

“I have done a lot of bowling in the last two weeks, but it is good for me.“We had a plan to take the early wickets in the morning, and Dawid and Harry have put on a very good partnership. If we can set a good lead, we can get back to the bowling.”

Kent’s Matt Quinn said: 

“I thought we toiled away throughout the day. It was nice to get a few rewards at the back end. But you have to give it to Yorkshire, Malan and Brook batted very well.

“It’s definitely a new ball wicket. It was pretty similar, they were 20-3 and us 20-3. 

“After the break we had, we didn’t get things quite right and let them get started and get their innings underway. “When you come up against quality batters on a wicket like that, it’s going to be tough to stop them scoring.”