Fourteen wickets fell during an opening day which saw ball dominate bat at Canterbury, with Yorkshire fighting back impressively following early trouble.
Kent’s first day of home Specsavers County Championship Division One cricket since 2010 was played out on a pitch offering uneven bounce for seamers.
Yorkshire were bowled out for 210, but they recovered from 96-6 at lunch. Kent then responded after tea with 130-4 from 39 overs and hold a slender advantage.
Tim Bresnan, making his first four-day appearance of 2019 in place of injured Matthew Waite (ankle), was superb with the ball, getting Daniel Bell-Drummond and Heino Kuhn caught at first slip by Tom Kohler-Cadmore in a testing seven-over spell.
Six White Rose batsmen made it into the twenties without reaching 30.
Captain Steve Patterson elected to bat upon winning the toss, only to lose Adam Lyth caught at second slip with the first ball of the match from impressive Harry Podmore (2-33 from 15 overs).
Harry Brook and Jonny Tattersall top-scored with 29 apiece before Kent opener Zak Crawley posted the day’s highest score with an unbeaten 73 off 104 balls.
Yorkshire were loose in the morning, best highlighted by three dismissals.
Brook was bowled around his legs by Podmore as he stepped across his stumps.
Then, Jack Leaning was run out at the striker’s end having been called through for a single by Kohler-Cadmore, who pushed new ball seamer Matt Milnes into the mid-on region following a deflection off the bowler’s hand.
Kent skipper Kuhn threw the striker’s stumps down with Leaning short.
Kohler-Cadmore (28) then top-edged a pull at Milnes to long-leg, the first of two wickets in the morning’s final three overs.
The other wickets to fall; Gary Ballance caught behind off an out-swinger from Dutch left-arm seamer Freddie Klaasen (35-2 in the eighth) and Bresnan caught at third slip off Milnes having been undone by extra bounce.
That dismissal was the sixth and signalled an immediate lunch midway through the 28th over.
For Yorkshire to pass 200 and secure a batting bonus point from 96-6 was impressive and could be crucial in the final reckoning.
Debutant Dom Bess hit four fours in 25, only to be bowled by Milnes, leaving the score at 126-7 after 34 overs.
Patterson (23) and Tattersall added 40 for the eighth wicket, the highest partnership of the innings, with the former looking to counter-attack.
Tattersall was lbw to one which kept low from veteran former Yorkshire seamer Mitch Claydon – 166-8 after 45 – before Ben Coad flashed to gully off Daniel Bell-Drummond’s part-time seamers with 181 on the board.
Duanne Olivier then added a useful 21 to help pass 200, only to see captain Patterson run out backing up after the South African had miscued a pull at Claydon back down the pitch.
Yorkshire’s fightback continued after tea.
Olivier ripped out Sean Dickson’s middle stump in the fourth over before Coad had Australian Matt Renshaw caught at first slip by Kohler-Cadmore, who has now taken 19 catches in all cricket this summer.
That left Kent at 38-2 after nine overs before Bresnan’s double reduced them to 71-4 in the 24th after the all-rounder had started his spell with three maidens on the spin.
Yorkshire made two changes from the team which beat Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl last month – loanee Bess and Bresnan in for England’s Joe Root and Waite.
What they said
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.”