Faltering Yorkshire CCC urgently need to halt slide and prevent good work from being undone

THE STATISTICS show that Yorkshire finished halfway up this year’s T20 Blast North Group with a record of 13 points from 14 games.

Harry Brook
Harry Brook

But the statistics tell only half the story.

Prior to their last two matches, Yorkshire were bottom of the table and facing embarrassment.

To their credit, they won both fixtures to finish fifth in the nine-county group to put a much better gloss on their overall efforts.

Yorkshire's Tom Kohler-Cadmore, left, Harry Brook run between the wickets against Kent.

What Yorkshire do not want to happen now, however, is for a similar situation to play out in reverse in the County Championship.

Going into their last two matches, starting with the ongoing contest against Kent, they were third in Division One having played some encouraging four-day cricket this year.

But after defeat in their last match to Somerset at Taunton, the last thing that Yorkshire need is for that good work to unravel and to slide down the table.

The old cliche that you are only as good as your last game holds, and an encouraging Championship campaign would become distinctly discouraging with an adverse result here and in the final match at Warwickshire next week.

To that effect, Yorkshire have an uphill task on their hands to save this game at the halfway stage.

After Kent declared on their overnight first day total of 482-8, Yorkshire were dismissed for 269, pace bowler Matthew Fisher top-scoring with a career-best 47 not out from 150 balls with five fours.

Although Yorkshire failed by 64 runs to reach the follow-on target of 333, Kent chose not to enforce and will head into day three on 2-0 after two overs of their second innings.

As such, they ensured that the turnstiles will almost certainly be clicking on day four, with good weather forecast for the rest of the game.

The reason for Kent’s declaration on another glorious morning – as opposed to trying to go on past 500 – was to exploit any early assistance on offer as Yorkshire had done so well on the first day, when they reduced their opponents to 39-5.

Kent’s recovery from there was scarcely credible, Darren Stevens (237) and Sam Billings (138) sharing in a stand of 346, the highest sixth-wicket partnership in the history of first-class cricket at Headingley.

A nice statistic concerning Stevens emerged yesterday courtesy of the Test Match Special scorer Andrew Samson, who noted that Stevens is only the fifth man aged over 43 – and the first since another Kent batsman, Frank Woolley in 1938 – to score a double hundred and also to take 10 wickets in a first-class game, as Stevens had done in Kent’s previous match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Stevens it was who quickly added to Yorkshire’s woes yesterday, taking the first two wickets as Adam Lyth was well caught low down at second slip by Faf du Plessis and Gary Ballance lbw propping forward.

Stevens had Ballance dropped from the previous delivery, the left-hander flashing hard to third slip where the ball burst through Zak Crawley’s hands on its way to the boundary in front of The Emerald Stand.

On a day when Kent grassed at least half a dozen chances of varying difficulty, Stevens had 17-year-old debutant Matthew Revis dropped on eight at first slip by Ollie Rayner, Revis having also been put down on two by wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson off Harry Podmore.

Revis finally fell for nine as Yorkshire tumbled to 36-3, caught by Robinson off Matt Milnes as he looked to defend slightly on the walk. Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Harry Brook combined in a steadying fourth-wicket stand, but Kohler-Cadmore was spilled in the final over before lunch, Robinson again the culprit as he moved to his right off Podmore.

Kent’s bowling holds no particular terrors on paper, but the visitors attacked with great discipline and maintained a tight line.

Freebies were few and far between, and there always seemed a wicket-taking ball just around the corner, Brook going lbw to one from Milnes that kept low –but which seemed to strike him outside the line of off stump – and Kohler-Cadmore to a delivery from the same bowler that jagged back in as he shaped to leave.

Yorkshire fell to 141-6 when Jonny Tattersall pushed at one from Podmore and was caught at third slip by Crawley, and it would have been 145-7 only for Fisher to be dropped on three by Rayner at first slip off Podmore.

It was a costly miss as Fisher combined with Tim Bresnan in a gritty stand of 53 for the seventh-wicket in 22 overs, ended when Bresnan was yorked by Milnes for a battling 39.

The second new ball did for Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson, bowled by Podmore, and then for Duanne Olivier, whom Milnes had lbw to rec ord his fifth wicket, although the ball looked to be going down the leg-side.

Ajaz Patel was last out, bowled by Rayner as he swung to leg, leaving Fisher three short of what would have been a deserved half-century.