Rudolph puts Yorkshire in command
Yorkshire 409 for 7 (Rudolph 146) lead Kent 227 by 182 runs
Everything went Yorkshire's way on the second day of the Scarborough Festival - and in truth they deserved it, because they played much the better cricket. They batted well, led by a fine century from Jacques Rudolph, while Kent will have been disappointed by their mediocre bowling and fielding. Somebody will have to turn in a sterling performance for Kent if they are to escape this match with a draw.
The day opened in bright sunshine and continued that way almost throughout, giving rise to veiled sniggers from the locals pretending sympathy for 'poor old Blackpool'. With the pitch, as expected, now a beauty, it was to be a day of unremitting toil for the visitors. Anthony McGrath set the pattern with two of his favourite cover-driven boundaries in the third over, off the pacy, promising but erratic Robbie Joseph.
His partner Rudolph took longer to get going, until after 15 minutes he got under way for the day with a perfectly timed straight drive for four off Ryan McLaren. He soon completed his 1000 championship runs for the season, in the course of taking two leg-side fours off Joseph, and ran to his fifty off 103 balls, leaving McGrath virtually becalmed in his wake. In fact McGrath was still only on 44 when his partner brought up three figures with a dab for two to third man; next ball Rudolph offered a fairly straightforward return catch - which was floored by the unfortunate James Tredwell.
McGrath just reached his fifty by lunch, taking 165 balls over it. Afterwards he appeared to lose concentration, caught at second slip off McLaren with a loose shot for 52. It was a strangely laborious innings after such a good start to the day, but fortunately for Yorkshire it was not a serious problem with Rudolph going like a train at the other end.
In the 76th over another fine cover-drive by Rudolph took Yorkshire into the lead, with seven wickets in hand. His new partner, Adam Lyth, was very wary at the start, but then two off-side boundaries finally got him going, and from then on he blossomed. He too is very strong through the covers, a favourite left-hander's stroke. He finally lost Rudolph for 146, to a rather undignified dismissal: Joseph bowled a ball almost a yard outside the off stump, but Rudolph went for it and somehow still managed to drag it on to his stumps. Rarely is a batsman dismissed 'bowled' by a delivery that would almost have been called a wide! Still, he left Yorkshire at 273 for 4, a great deal better placed than he had found them.
Gerard Brophy came and went, caught at second slip off the medium-paced Darren Stevens for 14, while Lyth continued to prosper. Unfortunately he has a habit that hopefully he will outgrow, that of throwing his wicket away when seemingly well set, and a wild slash off Martin Saggers to the keeper did for him when he had 68. His cover drive can bring back memories of David Gower; so too can some of his dismissals.
Another to play a magnificent cover drive was Rana Naved, but he only managed one before, with 10 to his credit, he slashed at a ball from Amjad Khan and was superbly caught by Tredwell at first slip. This brought Darren Gough to the wicket, and was the signal for Adil Rashid to open up, with two quality boundaries off Tredwell. It appeared a good policy, as Gough was in all sorts of trouble against Khan, the best but least-used of Kent's rather erratic seam attack, and twice offered difficult slip chances that went down. But he survived to the close with 12, Rashid on a precocious 43, and Kent still have three wickets to remove in the morning.
Kent's seam attack, generally speaking, was innocuous and often inaccurate, and the best bowling was done by Tredwell, who found little in the pitch to help him but kept the scoring in check by line, length and skill. Stevens, another bowler of no great speed, conceded just 16 runs off 10 overs, perhaps an indication of how this pitch is playing.