With perfect timing, as England selector James Whitaker looked on admiringly, Jonathan Bairstow completed the fourth first-class century of his rapidly developing career to lead Yorkshire's attempt to fight back against Kent.
While he was occupied with giving the Kent bowlers a hard time, his selection as one of five new names considered to be candidates for England's senior teams this summer was confirmed with the release of a 26-strong list who make up the ECB Performance Squad for 2012.
Jos Buttler, Danny Briggs, Stuart Meaker and Ben Stokes are the others named in a performance squad for the first time. The inclusion of Stokes comes despite the Durham all-rounder's caution for obstructing police after being arrested on a night out in December.
Bairstow's 107 at Headingley came off 147 balls and his 13 fours included five each off Matt Coles and Adam Riley, the off-spinner, whom he also hit twice for six. Dropped at second slip on 24, he was eventually caught behind off the all-rounder Darren Stevens. In a difficult start to life in Division Two, Yorkshire still had much to do to avoid the follow-on after Kent's 537-9 declared.
Meaker was among the wickets as Sussex slid towards the defeat that would enable Surrey to mark their return to the First Division with a win at The Oval. Meaker is the pacy spearhead in a handy Surrey attack that now includes Jon Lewis, who claimed his 800th first-class wicket when Chris Nash was the first Sussex man to fall.
Nick Compton missed out by one run on what would have been the 13th century of his career but Somerset took a lead of 104 over Middlesex at Taunton.
In Division Two there were early wins for Essex, by an innings and 38 runs over Gloucestershire at Chelmsford, and for Leicestershire, by 52 runs over Glamorgan, although the joy at Grace Road over an outstanding debut for the former Kent fast bowler Robbie Joseph, who took six wickets in each innings, was tempered by a five-point penalty for slow over rate.
Joseph, dogged by injuries before his release by Kent, finished with 6 for 64 as Glamorgan crashed to 183 all out, chasing a target of 236. It was the first 10-wicket match haul of his career.
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