Ashraf heroics keep Yorkshire hopes alive
Kent 216 for 6 v Yorkshire 261
A great bowling performance by 18-year-old paceman Moin Ashraf kept alive Yorkshire's hopes of beating Kent at Headingley Carnegie and snatching the title in the final Championship match of the season.
The Bradford-born fast bowler, who had earlier featured in a 52 stand for the last wicket, finished the second day with figures of 3 for 16 in nine overs in only his second Championship appearance.
Kent, who need to win to stay in the First Division, closed on 216 for 6 which left them trailing by 45 runs on the first innings. Rain and a wet ground meant the second day could not get under way until after an early lunch had been taken but hopes that Jonny Bairstow could go on to complete a maiden century were quickly dashed because he managed to add only one to his overnight 63 before he was caught at second slip by Martin van Jaarsveld off Dewald Nel.
In his next over, Nel claimed a sixth wicket for the first time in his career as Oliver Hannon-Dalby fell lbw but last man Ashraf gave valuable support to Steve Patterson in a 10th-wicket stand of 52 which took Yorkshire to 261 and earned them an unexpected second batting bonus point.
Ashraf, dropped before he had scored and again on five, took 20 balls to get off the mark while Patterson played some excellent attacking strokes as well as getting away with a couple of Chinese cuts.
Spinner James Tredwell was called upon for his first bowl of the innings and his third delivery had Ashraf nicking a catch to wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, leaving Patterson unbeaten on 39 from 59 balls with seven fours.
The pitch, less green than on the first day, had lost some of its pace and Sam Northeast and Joe Denly made a promising start to Kent's reply, although Denly should have been caught by Bairstow at second slip on 15 when Ajmal Shahzad found the edge.
Yorkshire were in need of a breakthrough and it came from Hannon-Dalby who had Denly taken at third slip by Adil Rashid. In the following over, Shahzad accounted for Northeast, superbly caught by Gerard Brophy diving low to his right in front of first slip.
Kent's innings was bolstered by some attractive batting by Van Jaarsveld in an 83 stand in 18 overs with Rob Key. The South African thumped Shahzad over square leg for six and a long hop from Rashid received similar treatment as he dashed to his half-century off 55 balls, the second big hit also giving him 1,000 first class runs for the season.
Key had also punished Rashid with two boundaries in the leg-spinner's first over but the bowler gained his revenge by trapping him lbw for 25 with a googly. Ashraf then struck twice to leave Kent on 142 for 5. He pinned Darren Stevens lbw before he had scored and shattered Jones' stumps with a perfect yorker.
The pendulum kept swinging one way and then the other and Kent hit back with a sixth-wicket stand between Van Jaarsveld and Alex Blake as the evening shadows lengthened. The pair eased their side past the 200 mark and a batting bonus point but Ashraf rejoined the attack to deny Van Jaarsveld his century by having him caught behind for 89 from 128 balls with seven boundaries.