Kent 316 for 6 (Nash 114*) lead Yorkshire 247 by 69 runs
Queenslander Brendan Nash posted his maiden century in county cricket to put his new club Kent in the driving seat at the mid-point of their second division clash with Yorkshire.
Australian-raised by white Jamaican parents - his father Paul swam at the Olympics and Commonwealth games for the island - Nash was unceremoniously dropped after winning his 21st Test caps for the West Indies last June. So poorly was it handled that he learned of his axing on the internet.
With a point to prove to the West Indies' selectors, he agreed in March to join a new look Kent side headed up by his former batting mentor in Jamaica, Jimmy Adams. So far, the move is proving to be an agreeable one for both parties, despite the fact that Nash was greeted like a rookie on his first visit to the St Lawrence ground.
"On my first day here the dressing room attendant, Dicky Cannon, thought I was here for a trial and sent me to change in the away dressing room," explained Nash. "That was just after the security guys at the gate had told me I couldn't park in the ground. I like to go under the radar a bit but not quite that much. I guess as the overseas player there's an aura that goes with the job title, but all of that will just make me more determined to proceed."
A diminutive and nuggety left-hander, Nash, 34, scored 381 runs in his five matches for Jamaica in our close-season at an average of 63 and he continued his hot form at a chilly, yet sunny St Lawrence Ground. While the weather continued to frustrate many, so Canterbury enjoyed blue skies. For one moment, Nash might have imagined he was back at Sabina Park - although the temperatures never rose above 14 degrees.
Playing with an eye-catching blend of patience and counter attack, the Nash left Yorkshire's attack bemused and frustrated during an innings that will have reminded their supporters of Darren Lehmann, another gritty left-hander who fully earned his classy reputation in the first-class game.
Having seen his county's top-order virtually all make starts without going on, Nash dug in ala Lehmann to nurdle his way to the first 50 of the game from 82 balls, while all around perished. Scott Newman reached the 30s before pushing at one with hard hands to be caught behind, then soon after lunch, Sam Northeast almost walked for an lbw shout after being trapped on the crease by Ajmal Shahzad.
Ben Harmison also toughed it out, scoring 43 with due diligence and respect for the quality of the Yorkshire attack before he lost the plot by swotting across the line to also fall leg before. With the ball still nibbling around, out-and-out shot-making was a risky business as Michael Powell (3) and Darren Stevens (8) quickly discovered.
Former Glamorgan stalwart Powell nicked one from Ryan Sidebottom to second slip then Stevens, having survived two previous shouts for leg before against Tim Bresnan, perished to the third when umpire Trevor Jesty raised his finger.
In mid-afternoon Geraint Jones joined forces with Nash for the most attractive partnership of the match. The sixth-wicket partners adding 77 in 16 overs at a healthy lick of 4.81 an over. Jones was the main aggressor, cracking nine to the ropes in his 49-ball stay for 47, before his leaden-footed smear at one from Sidebottom flew throat-high into the hands of Gary Ballance at slip.
Nash ploughed on, unflustered and unhurried to take Kent beyond Yorkshire's first innings of 247 and to his maiden century for the club. He got there with a late cut against Sidebottom that just beat the fielder at wide third man for the 10th first-class hundred of his career. In tandem with fellow left-hander James Tredwell, Nash still refused to yield in the final throws of the day and helping Kent to a third batting bonus point shortly before stumps, went in unbeaten on 114.