Yorkshire v Kent – Joe Root left with sour taste but Gary Ballance holds steady at Headingley

THERE is something deeply unsatisfying about the leg-side strangle.

STRANGLED: Yorkshire's Joe Root shows his frustration after his dismissal against Kent. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Like cloudy beer or corked wine, it is guaranteed to leave an unpleasant taste.

A batsman can take no pleasure from that mode of dismissal – not that pleasure can ever be taken from losing one’s wicket – for there are few worse ways to get out than to glance the ball behind to the wicketkeeper when playing off the pads.

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But the bowler, too, can gain little enjoyment from what is a misdirected delivery that might otherwise leak runs.

LEADING THE WAY: Yorkshire's Gary Ballance hits out on his way to ending day two at Headingley unbeaten on 91. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

It is a strange one all round, with a touch of bad luck on the one hand and good luck on the other.

And so Joe Root the man strangled on day two at Headingley, trudged off wearing the look of a man whose body language screamed words not fit for a family newspaper, and Matt Quinn, the New Zealand pace bowler-cum-strangler, only sheepishly celebrated the prized scalp of the England Test captain.

That it ended a sublime if not substantial innings of 41 made the whole business seem even more unsatisfactory, like having been wrapped up in a particularly engrossing novel only to come across some terrible production error that meant that many of the final chapters were missing.

With just a little more contact on the fatal ball from Quinn, his shadow trailing behind him as he ran in from the Kirkstall Lane end, Root would have had another four runs to his tally and the show would have continued.

BAD LUCK: Kent's Marcus O'Riordan looks on after chopping on to Yorkshire's Duanne Olivier. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Such are the fine margins in sport.

Root batted beautifully on a day when Yorkshire scored 240-5, Gary Ballance leading the charge with a splendid, unbeaten 91 after they had ended the Kent first innings for 305 shortly before lunch, the visitors having resumed on 224-7.

From the moment that he walked to the crease on a sunny afternoon, like a man busily striding to a business meeting, it was a sight simply to behold Root go about his work – not least the various stretches and warm-up routines before he had settled properly at the crease, along with much shadow batting at the non-striker’s end.

It was the sort of spectacle that would have looked rather presumptuous had it been conducted by someone at the opposite end of the career and reputation spectrum, for if you are going to stand there playing imaginary shots and looking as if you mean business, then you had better know that business intimately.

STYLISH: Yorkshire's Harry Brook evades a short ball against Kent, dismissed for an excellent 59. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Root could write the book on it and he was off the mark here to his fifth ball, deftly running Nathan Gilchrist to the third-man boundary before using his full height to get on top of the bounce when cutting the West Indian pace bowler Miguel Cummins across the East Stand rope.

In tandem with Ballance, with whom he shared 83 for the fourth wicket, Root even lingered for a little more shadow batting and pitch prodding as the rest of the players trooped off for tea.

It suggested a dedication to duty that went beyond the call of it, a glimpse into the world of the consummate professional.

Ballance, too, is deserving of that tag, and to say that Yorkshire’s batting has been improved by his return from various health issues is not a contentious observation.

Granted, he may not quite have Root’s flourish – who does? – but Ballance has a comparable facility for accumulating runs, punching the ball away to the offside and leg with a method that looks so simple because he makes it seem so.

Ballance made his runs from 185 balls, striking 13 fours and a muscular six pulled off Cummins. Harry Brook also made it look simple in an excellent 59, and it is a compliment to say that one barely noticed him reach his latest half-century before Gilchrist pinned him with one that kept low.

If anyone has the skill to follow Root from the Yorkshire dressing room into the international set-up, it is surely Brook, who shared 102 with Ballance in fluent fashion. Earlier, Adam Lyth skied to mid-on and Tom Kohler-Cadmore chopped on, with Jonny Tattersall edging behind late in the piece.

The start of play was delayed by 10 minutes due to rain, Jordan Thompson soon knocking out Gilchrist’s middle stump before Yorkshire were held up by a ninth-wicket stand of 60 in 12 overs between Cummins and Marcus O’Riordan, the 23-year-old off-spinner.

They played well and spectacularly so in Cummins’s case after he had been hit on the helmet by a short delivery from Duanne Olivier, a blow that seemed to convince him that attack was the best form of self-preservation as he then deposited the same bowler for four over the top before hoisting Steve Patterson for two big leg-side sixes.

O’Riordan’s dismissal – chopping on to Olivier for 40 – and Quinn’s return catch back to Dom Bess denied Cummins the chance to beat his career-best of 29 not out in his 87th game.

He walked off with 28 to his credit, another slightly unsatisfying ending.

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