Adam Lyth’s 97 was the feature of a healthy opening day for Yorkshire against Kent at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.
The White Rose are in good order at 358-8 from 100 overs in the early stages of this round two LV= Insurance County Championship fixture in Canterbury. But it could have been even better after a flying start.
Just before lunch, Yorkshire were 124-1 in the face of excellent batting conditions and a struggling home attack.
But the visitors were unable to completely capitalise even though they are in the stronger position ahead of day two.
Opener Lyth’s fifth successive score of 50 or more this summer in all cricket, including friendlies, was supplemented by 54 for Harry Brook, 36 for Dom Bess, 34 for Jordan Thompson and 34 not out for Steve Patterson.
Yorkshire, having won the toss, raced out of the blocks against the off colour hosts who later improved.
Lyth – he hit 15 fours in 116 balls in all – led the way to 50-1 after only seven overs.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore (14) was the early departure, caught behind down leg off Darren Stevens, the veteran all-rounder announced as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year on the eve of this fixture.
That left Yorkshire at 28-1 after four overs.
Kent struggled for line and length before lunch, but they were celebrating another leg-side strangle when Tom Loten fell to Harry Podmore as the visitors slipped to 124-2 in the 28th.
Kent countlessly fed Lyth driving opportunities and did not bowl a maiden until the 20th over.
Lyth’s half-century came in only 43 balls, while he shared 96 for the second wicket with Loten (27).
Unfortunately for Yorkshire, the afternoon session was nowhere near as productive as Kent found their groove.
They removed Joe Root and Lyth inside the opening 40 minutes of the session, leaving the White Rose at 150-4 in the 39th over.
Both were caught behind off Matt Milnes. Root, for 11, nibbled at one outside off before Lyth played a half-hearted drive – an area which was served him so well.
Of Yorkshire’s 20 boundaries before lunch, he hit 13 of them.
Following the two quick wickets, Brook and Jonny Tattersall settled things by sharing 69 for the fifth wicket.
Brook dominated that alliance and reached his fifty off 72 balls.
But when he was trapped lbw by West Indian overseas quick Miguel Cummins, Yorkshire were 219-5 in the 57th over.
Five down was to become six down shortly afterwards, and it was courtesy of former White Rose Championship winner Jack Leaning, as the part-time off-spinner removed Tattersall (11) with his very first ball, caught at slip driving at a wide one.
That left the score at 240-6 in the penultimate over of the afternoon, the 63rd.
After tea, this topsy-turvy day swung again.
Bess, who offered a low slip catch to England Test team-mate Zak Crawley off Cummins on seven before tea, benefitted from his reprieve to the tune of another 29 runs.
He shared 52 with seventh-wicket partner Thompson before being trapped lbw by Stevens for 36, leaving Yorkshire at 292-7 in the 84th over. It was Steven’s 550th first-class career wicket.
Stevens struck again to get Thompson caught behind two overs later (299-8).
Patterson and David Willey then definitively tipped the balance back in Yorkshire’s favour with a late unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 59 in punchy fashion. Willey will begin day two on 25.
Kent new ball seamer Podmore bowled only 10 overs due to a suspected side/abdominal injury.
Yorkshire came into this game with Thompson and Willey replacing injured seamers Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher following last weekend’s draw with Glamorgan.