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Report: Day 4 of Kent vs Yorkshire

Photos: John Heald Photography
— 18 April 2021

Scorecard

Yorkshire wrapped up a hugely impressive LV= Insurance County Championship victory – by 200 runs – over Kent after tea on a hard-fought final day at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, with David Willey proving the key man with the second new ball.

Jordan Thompson had claimed two morning wickets, including former team-mate Jack Leaning for his second duck of the Group Three contest, as Kent, chasing 445, slipped to 86-5 from 33-2 overnight.

At that stage – midday – Yorkshire were on course to secure the 23-point haul with plenty of time to spare. But there was very nearly a sting in the tail.

Nightwatchman Matt Milnes led significant middle order resistance, with him stood on a career best 71 not out at tea with Kent 193-6 and 33 overs still to be bowled.

Thankfully, he was trapped lbw for 78 by Willey with the new ball – 223-7 with almost 26 overs remaining – and the hosts were later bowled out for 244 with 19.2 overs remaining.

Left-arm swing bowler Willey finished with figures of 5-61 from 16.4 overs, his best first-class return for Yorkshire in only 14 appearances since joining from Northamptonshire ahead of 2016.

Yorkshire’s second round victory followed an opening week draw with Glamorgan at Emerald Headingley, with them much sharper in performance here.

After a mixed batting performance on day one, when they fell from 124-1 to 240-6 and then recovered to close on 358-8, the White Rose dominated the game.

Adam Lyth was their star of the show overall thanks to scores of 97 and 116, while all-rounder Thompson’s seamers ensured Kent’s final day task was a mountainous one and Willey finished it off with a bowling display which belied his reputation as a one-day specialist.

It was credit to the hosts that they were able to keep the visitors guessing until 5pm following the damage done at the start of the day.

Willey, who claimed Kent’s very first wicket late on day three, bowled home captain Daniel Bell-Drummond in the day’s first over to give Yorkshire the ideal start – 34-3 in the 13th over of the innings.

Thompson – 3-24 from 12 – then had Joe Denly (30) caught behind by Jonny Tattersall and Leaning caught at first slip by Tom Kohler-Cadmore in successive overs as Kent slipped to 86-5 in the 27th over.

The attritional nature of the pitch was best highlighted by nightwatchman Milnes hardly looking in any trouble as more proficient partners fell around him.

Starting the day on nought, he reached lunch on a career best 46 with Kent at 119-5.

He brought up his maiden fifty off 110 balls in the opening 10 minutes of the afternoon when driving Dom Bess to the cover boundary for his 10th boundary.

England Test off-spinner Bess (0-57 from 23) bowled nicely without fortune during the afternoon from the Nackington Road End of the ground.

Milnes and wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson shared 62 for the sixth wicket.

But Duanne Olivier, another key contributor this weekend, had Robinson caught behind for 28, leaving the score at 148-6 in the 59th over and still the best part of 50 overs remaining.

Milnes then united for the rest of the afternoon with seventh-wicket partner Darren Stevens, the veteran all-rounder who famously scored a match-winning double century at Headingley in 2019.

The pair had shared 75 by the time Willey trapped Milnes lbw, ending his impressive 210-ball stay at the crease.

And in Willey’s next over, Stevens drove him to Joe Root at mid-off, leaving Kent 224-8 in the 85th over and still the best part of 24 overs to survive.

Willey then secured the win by trapping Miguel Cummins lbw in the 89th over, with last man Harry Podmore injured and unable to bat due to a side injury.

Yorkshire are back in action against Sussex at Hove on Thursday.

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