Blake keeps Kent level after Ashraf heroics
Yorkshire 261 and 51 for 1 v Kent 302
Moin Ashraf turned in Yorkshire's best bowling figures of the season and Alex Blake registered his maiden first-class century for Kent as the two sides continued their battle for supremacy on another rain-hit day in the County Championship match at Headingley.
Blake's unbeaten 105 helped to stretch Kent's first innings to 302 and his tenth wicket stand of 41 with Dewald Nel brought their side the third batting bonus point, which kept them in with a chance of avoiding relegation from the top flight.
Kent finished with an overall lead of 41 and by the close Yorkshire had reached 51 for 1 to go ten runs in front. Now they must force a win on the final day of the season to see if it is sufficient to clinch the Championship title for the first time since 2001.
Drizzle, followed by a heavier burst of rain, meant only four overs were possible before 3.40pm when 38 overs still remained but in that initial period there was just sufficient time for 21-year-old Blake, a student at Leeds Met University, to add the ten runs to his overnight score which he needed to complete his maiden half-century from 80 balls with ten boundaries.
On the re-start, Ashraf continued his outstanding form of the previous day by taking two wickets in three balls and his final figures of 5 for 32 were Yorkshire's best in the Championship this term, beating team-mate Steve Patterson's 5 for 50 against Essex at Scarborough.
Simon Cook fell lbw to Adil Rashid's googly to make Kent 261 for 9 but while Nel held firm, Blake unleashed some stunning cover drives off both Patterson and Ajmal Shahzad. He was also severe on Rashid, thrashing him for three consecutive boundaries, the second hurrying him to his century off 142 balls with 17 fours and the next bringing up the 300.
Kent had achieved another crucial batting point and the innings was then quickly wrapped up by Patterson who trapped Nel lbw. Adam Lyth and Jacques Rudolph began to whittle away at the deficit but there was a life for Lyth on 19 when he edged Cook and a low chance was put down by James Tredwell at first slip.
Tredwell made amends in the very next over by gaining an lbw decision over Rudolph and as he departed for 13 he was applauded off the field by Lyth, so fuelling speculation that this could be the South African's last appearance for his adopted county, although he still has a year to run on his contract.
Yorkshire were still a run behind at the fall of the wicket but Lyth and McGrath just had time to put them in front and leave everything depending on what happens at Headingley and elsewhere on the final riveting day of the season.