Cricket latest: Yorkshire rescue opening draw against Kent

Ryan Sidebottom will be key for Yorkshire this season.
Ryan Sidebottom will be key for Yorkshire this season.
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Yorkshire held on to claim a draw in their LV=County Championship match against Kent at Headingley despite the best efforts of Charlie Shreck.

Shreck claimed four for six in 18 balls to dismiss the tail and force the hosts to follow on 173 runs in arrears with 79 overs remaining on the final day.

But Joe Root and Joe Sayers went a long way towards helping Yorkshire save the match with an opening stand of 115 and they were 146 for four when bad light ended the contest with 26 overs to go.

Yorkshire had their work cut out in the morning when they resumed their first innings on 316 for six, needing a further 72 to make Kent bat again.

Adil Rashid, 40 overnight, and Ajmal Shahzad, began promisingly against Mark Davies and Shreck and Rashid’s extra cover drive off Shreck moved him to his half-century off 93 balls with eight fours.

Shreck dropped a return catch from Shahzad but soon made amends by trapping him lbw for 25 to end a stand of 57 and leave Yorkshire on 347 for seven, their situation made worse by the fact Richard Pyrah could only bat in an emergency after breaking a bone in his left hand earlier in the match.

Ryan Sidebottom did not last long after being caught in the slips in Shreck’s next over and Rashid also departed to the seamer when he had a rush of blood and lost his off-stump.

That left Yorkshire on 356 for nine and it was decided to send in Pyrah to see if he could survive long enough to help Iain Wardlaw add the 32 still needed to avoid batting again.

Wardlaw, in his first Championship innings, soon showed he was no batting novice by driving off-spinner Adam Riley for two classy boundaries in one over, but there were to be no heroics from Pyrah who was out to his first delivery, bowled off stump by Shreck whose late surge gave him Kent’s best figures of four for 90.

Yorkshire would have been in early difficulties second time around if wicketkeeper Geraint Jones had not dropped a straightforward chance from Root with the score on nine.

The openers took Yorkshire to lunch at 34 with no further alarms and Root led the way after the interval as the stand steadily grew, Sayers’ cover drive raising three figures in 36 overs.

Root generally scored twice as quickly as his partner but when he had made 76 to Sayers’ 38 he got an inside edge against Riley and was bowled.

Anthony McGrath managed to avoid a king pair and was soon off the mark but Yorkshire were shaken by an unexpected double blow which left them in some trouble again on 125 for three.

First, Sayers missed a full toss from Riley and was lbw for a patient 43 and in the next over from Shreck a tickle down the legside ended captain Andrew Gale’s brief stay before he had scored.

At tea, Yorkshire were 135 for three and trailing by 38 and only 10 runs had been added when Jonny Bairstow drove Shreck low to Scot Newman at cover in fading light. One run later the players came off and did not return, 76 overs having been taken from the game by bad weather.

Yorkshire were generally second best to Kent and will be happy to have claimed nine points to their opponents’ 10.