Battling Bairstow earns Yorkshire a bonus point
Yorkshire 205 for 7 v Kent
A battling unbeaten 62 from Jonathan Bairstow rescued Yorkshire and earned them a valuable batting bonus point against Kent at Headingley as they aimed to clinch the County Championship title in their final match of the season.
Bad light and drizzle restricted the opening day's play to 58 overs but Yorkshire managed to reach 205 for 7 and pick up a batting bonus point after they had been 93 for 5 at one stage.
Kent, who also need a victory in order to avoid relegation, were happy to win the toss and insert Yorkshire on a green pitch which offered plenty of assistance to the seam bowlers. Adam Lyth and Jacques Rudolph survived together until the ninth over when Simon Cook found the edge of Lyth's bat and he was caught at first slip by James Tredwell for 17.
Anthony McGrath (one) drove loosely outside off-stump in the next over from James Coles and was caught by Martin van Jaarsveld at second slip to leave Yorkshire struggling on 31 for 2, but skipper Andrew Gale came to the crease in a positive frame of mind and made good progress while Rudolph continued cautiously at the other end. The ball before lunch, however, brought about the downfall of Gale who moved in front of his stumps and was lbw to Dewald Nel for 39 off 63 balls with seven boundaries.
That made Yorkshire 81 for 3 at the interval and not long afterwards they dipped to 93 for 5. Rudolph, who had occupied the crease for two hours for his 25, was bowled by Nel and in the following over Gerard Brophy played Coles into his stumps for one.
Bairstow and Adil Rashid responded by taking the attack to Kent with Bairstow moving the score along smartly by helping himself to three boundaries in an over off Nel before twice finding the rope against Coles.
Two short stoppages for the thinnest of drizzle which barely wet the ground drew some barracking from Yorkshire fans, but when play did resume Rashid drove Cook gloriously through the covers for four. Further light rain brought forward the tea interval and, when play finally re-started 70 minutes later, 14 overs had been lost. The sixth-wicket stand moved on to 65 in 13 overs before Rashid drove wildly at Nel and was caught behind by Geraint Jones for 29 off 37 balls with five fours.
Another useful stand began to develop between Bairstow and Ajmal Shahzad as Yorkshire closed in on a valuable batting bonus point and Shahzad gained in confidence with a couple of fine cover drives. Bairstow pulled Coles for four to reach a sparkling 50 - his eighth half-century of the season. It contained nine boundaries and came off 81 balls.
Although time had earlier been lost when it was virtually dry, play was now able to continue while rain fell in the near distance and a cheer went up when Shahzad found the square-leg boundary off Nel to secure a batting point at 200 for six. The same over saw Ajmal dismissed for 21 as he moved into his stumps and was lbw to bring Nel his fourth wicket, but soon afterwards bad light ended play for the day.