Veteran Mahmood keeps Kent in contention
Kent 317 v Yorkshire 280 for 8
It took the wiles of Azhar Mahmood and the second new ball to keep Kent in touch with Yorkshire after a second engrossing day of championship cricket at Canterbury.
Having recovered from the depths of 120 for 6 to reach 246 without further alarm, Yorkshire looked set to march into a first innings lead as youngsters Adil Rashid and Jonathan Bairstow led their recovery.
The seventh-wicket partners added 126 in 43 overs either side of the tea break until Kent claimed the second new ball to claw their way back into contention. With the third delivery Amjad Khan ended Bairstow's 172-ball stay, getting the right-hander to fish at one that held its line, he was caught low down at third slip by James Hockley.
Then, nine balls later and eight overs from the close, 35-year-old Mahmood mustered the energy for a third spell and was rewarded with the scalp of Rashid, leg before for 59, to an off-cutter that kept slightly low.
It was no more than Kent's injury-hit attack deserved. Despite the absence of Robbie Joseph, Simon Cook and close-season signing Dewald Nel, the hosts plugged away all day to ensure scoring opportunities remained at a premium.
After Kent lost their final wicket for the addition of only four runs, Yorkshire's pursuit started 15 minutes into the day and was soon hitting the buffers as Khan and Mahmood posed problems.
Khan had Adam Lyth snaffled up by Geraint Jones diving to his left them Mahmood accounted for Joe Sayers, caught on the crease and palpably leg-before. Kent took their third wicket before lunch when Andrew Gale, prodding at a leg-cutter, was superbly held at second slip by Martin van Jaarsveld, diving across James Tredwell at third slip.
Yorkshire's slump continued six balls after the lunch interval when part-time seamer Darren Stevens trapped a well-set Anthony McGrath (40) leg before then Tredwell enlivened proceedings with two wickets in as many balls. The off-spinner had Jacques Rudolph (38) caught behind off an attempted cut, then threw one up to invite a rash first-ball drive from Tim Bresnan that flew off the edge, shoulder high to van Jaarsveld at slip.
Adil Rashid barely survived the hat-trick ball, he shouldered arms to one that almost pegged back off stump, but then teamed up with Bairstow to bat Yorkshire back into contention before Khan and Mahmood struck late in the day. Mahmood finished with 3 for 59 and Khan and Tredwell two apiece as honours just about finished even at the half-way stage.
Mark Pennell is the managing director of freelance reporting and public relations agency Kent & Sussex Sport. His new book, Trophies & Tribulations: Forty years of Kent cricket, is published shortly.