Bairstow masters a green top to extend Yorkshire's title hope

Yorkshire 205-7 Kent
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The Independent Online

During 20 years as a Yorkshire player David Bairstow never managed to win a County Championship title, but thanks to his son, Jonathan, the current squad of players are still in with a shout of winning this year's crown.

That is after the 20-year-old struck his eighth half-century of the season here yesterday on day one against Kent to help the Tykes close on 205 for 7.

That is far from the biggest total amassed on day one of a four-day game, but in testing conditions and on a green-top wicket, it may well prove vitally important to the direction of this game and therefore potentially the Championship.

Bairstow's innings of 62 not out comes less than a week after he led Yorkshire to victory over rivals Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. When he came to the crease, with the score on 81 for three, his side were once more in trouble.

Adam Lyth was the first to go for only 17, when he was caught at first slip by James Tredwell off Simon Cook in only the ninth over of the day.

And if his wicket was a blow, bearing in mind Lyth became the first player in the First Division to hit 1,000 Championship runs earlier this season, then when Anthony McGrath was ousted only seven balls later to leave the Tykes on 31 for two, it became obvious that posting a big total on this wicket would be tough.

Kent's quick start was in contrast to their warm-up in Leeds, which was disrupted when coach Paul Farbrace was stuck in a Headingley lift, and they soon found further resistance from Yorkshire in the shape of captain Andrew Gale.

Plundering seven boundaries, the left-hander made his way to a brisk 39 before he was out with the last ball before lunch to leave the title chasers on 81 for three at the interval.

That soon became 93 for five, after Jacques Rudolph was clean bowled by Dewald Nel, who finished with 4 for 47, for 25, and Gerard Brophy was ousted by Matt Coles for only one, before Bairstow made his mark to begin the fightback.

First, he put on 65 for the sixth wicket with Adil Rashid. Then, when Rashid was caught driving by Geraint Jones off Nel for 29, the flame-haired right-hander continued on in difficult conditions with Ajmal Shahzad.

Together the two of them added 42 to the total, taking the home side to a first batting bonus point when they reached 200.

Shahzad was then out next ball, trying to repeat his flick into the leg side which had brought up the all important total, before bad light, which had been threatening to ruin proceedings for most of the day, finally brought the players off.

It meant that Kent had certainly had the better of day one, as they search for a win which could keep them up if Warwickshire do not pick up at least nine points from their fixture with Hampshire.

However, against a Tykes attack who have excelled so often this season, they might not be relishing their turn with the bat.