Cricket: Vaughan grinds out path to safety for Yorkshire

Kent 302 Yorkshire 290-7
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The Independent Online
MICHAEL VAUGHAN yesterday played the kind of innings England will be seeking from him in South Africa: applied, industrious, workmanlike, slow, grinding and boring. He entered this match with a seasonal average of 27, poor credentials for a tourist, saw his role as the buttress of a shaky Yorkshire order and batted through a wearying day, hardly unleashing a minted drive until after tea.

Kent had taken their turn in losing a bowler, a heavier blow than Yorkshire's late withdrawals on Wednesday, as Julian Thompson went home yesterday morning to be with his wife at childbirth. This left Mark Ealham with only four regulars, including himself, on a near-perfect pitch, and it says much for his judicious handling of limited resources that Kent had the edge for much of what may be recorded as the hottest September day in Scarborough's history.

This heat, and the accompanying humidity, has been a powerful factor, contributing to Kent's meagre beginnings and Yorkshire's mid-innings collapse. Dean Headley, especially, has managed to make the ball wobble late to leave batsmen groping.

Not that he was successful when Yorkshire resumed needing 293 for the lead having lost Matthew Wood overnight. Ian Fisher proved to be a night- watchman of some lineage, a gritty little left-hander accustomed to desperate rearguarding for East Bierley on dark, dank weekends in the Bradford League. He and a circumspect Vaughan added 87 in 31 overs as Ealham sought a winning combination.

Ealham and Min Patel eventually turned the screw so successfully that at one point Yorkshire managed only 14 in 14 overs, Patel eventually tempting Fisher into a grandiose sweep. The drama came immediately after lunch when Headley, in his second spell, swept away David Byas, at backward point, trapped Richard Blakey leg before and had Anthony McGrath caught behind, 3 for 13 in 17 balls.

Vaughan stood alone amid smoking debris until joined by Richard Harden, another batsman in need of a score, and the pair dutifully and carefully steered Yorkshire past a possible follow-on, Vaughan reaching his 16th century soon after tea (263 balls, 13 fours).

The game had all but fallen asleep when Harden, 64 off 147 balls, suddenly went to pull and top-edged to short mid-on, ending a stand of 147 in 47 overs, a change in the order bringing in Craig White to see Vaughan, 104 overs without a chance, 133, through to today.

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