Bairstow keeps Yorkshire fighting
Yorkshire 316 for 6 (Bairstow 107*) trail Kent 537 for 9 dec (Coles 103*) by 221 runs
Jonny Bairstow, one of England's exciting crop of future stars, enjoyed a memorable day as his Yorkshire side battle hard to secure an opening round draw against Kent. After scoring his third first-class century, the wicketkeeper-batsman found out about his inclusion in England's Performance squad ahead of their summer schedule.
Bairstow, who played one-day and Twenty20 internationals against India and Pakistan during the winter, is enhancing his reputation at a rate of knots and this knock of 107, off 147 balls and including 13 fours and two sixes, can only do him good as he looks to secure a place in England's Test match middle order.
Confirmation of his place in the 26-strong national party came through from the ECB shortly after he had secured his half-century in the midst of an important fifth-wicket stand of 115 with Gary Ballance. It was a prime reason why Yorkshire closed on 316-6, still 71 short of avoiding the follow-on with a day remaining.
"I didn't actually know about that," said Bairstow. "I was told when I get off the pitch. I've been pleased with how my winter's gone out in the sub-continent and coming back here and getting a century in the first game of the season hopefully stands me in good stead for the rest of the summer."
Yorkshire had been in early trouble thanks to an impressive opening spell from Kent's debutant Mark Davies, formerly of Durham, who claimed the wickets of Joe Sayers and Anthony McGrath with his first two balls of the day after a maiden half-century with the bat on Thursday as the visitors posted 537-9 declared.
Sayers was caught at third slip and McGrath trapped lbw for a golden duck to leave the score at 37-2, with Joe Root later falling to Matt Coles to bring Bairstow to the crease with the score on 79. He began with diligence before dominating from the moment Adam Riley, Kent's left-arm spinner, was brought into the attack. It was all much to the dismay of Ben Harmison, who dropped a simple chance at second slip off Davies' bowling with Bairstow on 24.
Bairstow wasted no time in putting Riley on the back foot with three fours in an over and later eased a six wide of long-on to move into the nineties before exacting further punishment on the young spinner by launching him over midwicket and high into the East Stand to move to 99. He reached his first championship hundred at Headingley from his next ball.
Darren Stevens ended Bairstow's innings in the early evening when he forced him to feather behind to Geraint Jones, leaving the score at 290-6. With the second new ball due, Kent sniffed another opportunity with Yorkshire still 98 runs away from avoiding the follow-on. But Adil Rashid dug in before bad light and rain wiped out the last 18 overs to give Yorkshire an easier night's sleep ahead of the final day.
It must have gone some way to softening the blow after Richard Pyrah was told to expect a six-week lay-off with a broken left hand following a fielding accident on the midwicket boundary on Thursday.