Star man Gary Ballance praised the positivity shown by Joe Root and Harry Brook as they batted around him to help put Yorkshire in a healthy position at close on day two against Kent at Emerald Headingley.

Ballance was Yorkshire’s standout performer of day two with an unbeaten 91 as they set about a healthy response to Kent’s 305 all out, closing on 240-5, a deficit of 65.

The prolific left-hander was backed up by Brook’s 59 and Root’s 41; he shared 83 for the third wicket with Root and 102 for the fourth with Brook.

Before lunch, Kent advanced their first innings from 224-7.

“Both Joe and Harry were really positive and scored quickly, as they always do,” he said. “It was quite nice sitting up the other end watching them play nice shots whilst I nurdled it around!

“That’s what we talk about – try to bat in partnerships. So it’s a good feeling today.

“In the first 20 or 30 balls of my innings, I felt out of rhythm a bit. But once I got going, I felt good and the ball was coming onto the bat nicely.

“The odd one seamed a bit, but it played like a decent pitch today.

“It played quite well. But, as Headingley always does, it still kept you honest. There were a few balls in there that did quite a bit.

“Kent have got a new ball in three overs, so that will be difficult. And that’s what it will be like for us in the second innings – try and make inroads with the new ball.”

Earlier, Jordan Thompson, Duanne Olivier and Dom Bess struck to wrap up the Kent first innings before lunch.

“I thought our bowlers were brilliant all innings, so credit to them for getting themselves to 300,” said Ballance. “It was up to us batters to get off to a good start and kick on.”

Ballance is closing in on a 41st career first-class century, but may well get a bit more sleep than usual ahead of day three.

He explained: “I don’t sleep well during games anyway, so I’m sure I will be up a bit. But looking at the forecast, I may be able to have a bit of a lie in.

“It looks like the weather will play a part. But we can’t control that. You never know, we might get a bit of cricket in tomorrow. We just have to get a first-innings lead and see where that takes us.”

Day two was played out in front of a watching Alan Igglesden, Kent’s hugely popular former fast bowler who is receiving end of life care for a brain tumour.

Igglesden played three Tests between 1989 and 1994 for England, and Kent spinner Marcus O’Riordan said: “(Coach) Matt Walker spoke to us before the game, particularly about Alan, saying that he’d be here today.

“That gave us a bit more perspective about what it means to play for Kent.”

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