Promoted Tim Bresnan impresses in draw
Kent 317 and 357 for 8 dec drew with Yorkshire 283 and 300 for 5
In the 27 matches played between Kent and Yorkshire in Canterbury since 1885 some 11 have been inked into the record books as draws, but few of these will have been as entertaining as this four-day clash at St Lawrence where honours deservedly finished even.
Set to chase a mammoth 392 in 91 overs, unbeaten leaders Yorkshire made a great tilt at the pursuit only to run out of steam in the final hour and finish on 300 for 5. When the sides shook hands on a draw just before 6pm the visitors were still 92 short of their target, leaving a battling, injury-hit Kent side to bank nine Championship points to Yorkshire's eight.
Yorkshire were given a solid, if sedate start to their pursuit in the form of a first-wicket stand worth 155 in 49 overs between left-handed opening partners Adam Lyth and Joe Sayers who batted with common sense beyond their collective ages of 48. Without frill of fuss the pair were content to see off the new ball and then manoeuvre it around into the gaps to edge their score along at a shade over three over. Most crucially to their cause was that they simply stayed out there.
They deserved the odd stroke of luck, indeed Kent's spearhead Amjad Khan beat the outside edge on numerous occasions without feathering the blade. The one time Kent did find the edge, with Lyth on 30, Geraint Jones downed a tricky chance stood up off Darren Stevens.
However, just at the time when they needed to accelerate their run-rate in the mid-session, so Yorkshire's openers perished in the space of six deliveries. Lyth (84) was unfortunate to nick a leg glance against offspinner James Hockley into Jones' gloves then, without addition to the total, Sayers (61) followed a turning delivery from James Tredwell and steered it gently into the hands of Martin van Jaarsveld at slip.
The experienced duo of Anthony McGrath and Tim Bresnan built on the solid foundations with another excellent third-wicket stand of 123 in 26 overs either side of tea that took the visitors into the final 20 overs needing 151 for a famous win at the rate of 7.55 an over - no more taxing than a reasonable par score for a Twenty20 encounter.
England allrounder Bresnan survived a king pair to post a 73-ball half-century with five fours, while former Yorkshire skipper McGrath reached the milestone from 77 balls but with only three boundaries. Their fun ended three overs into the final hour when McGrath (55) holed out to Joe Denly at wide long-on off the bowling of Tredwell who, in his next over, enticed Jacques Rudolph to drive into the hands of the same fielder at long off and make it 289 for 4.
The asking rate had risen to 9.8 going into the final 10 overs when Andrew Gale, having failed to score off the first three balls of a Tredwell over, mistimed a drive to extra cover and set off for a suicidal single that left Bresnan high and dry. He was comfortably run out by van Jaarsveld's throw to the keeper at the striker's end and went for an excellent 70 from 92 balls - Yorkshire's outside chances of victory went with him.
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, has just been published.