Lehmann leaves Kent attack in tatters

The St Lawrence Ground had an end of season feel to it. Anoraks and sweaters were essential; the leaves on the famous lime tree have begun to turn; by usual standards the crowd was poor reflecting an unlucky season for Kent, and the pitch was so far over to one side to make for an absurdly short eastern boundary.

The St Lawrence Ground had an end of season feel to it. Anoraks and sweaters were essential; the leaves on the famous lime tree have begun to turn; by usual standards the crowd was poor reflecting an unlucky season for Kent, and the pitch was so far over to one side to make for an absurdly short eastern boundary.

The quality of its service was impeccable, however, and Yorkshire who won the toss had a field day until shortly after tea. Darren Lehmann, in exceptional form, scored his fourth Championship century of the season from only 89 balls, and Anthony McGrath reached his first from 181 and for a long time Kent's attack, which has been cut to pieces by injury, had no answer.

The closeness of the boundary helped the scoring rate but even so, much of the bowling was pretty ordinary. Kent and Yorkshire are both without five front-line bowlers - Darren Gough and Craig White are both being forcibly rested by England - and so Kent's batsmen will soon have their chance.

The day was given a bizarre start when, after three overs had been bowled and before a boundary had been hit, the ball went out of shape and had to be changed causing a long delay. Replacement balls which have only been used for three overs are a scarce commodity.

Michael Vaughan drove the eventual replacement resoundingly through the covers two overs later and this set the tone for the next four hours' play. His partner Simon Widdup, was well caught at cover from a wild slash, but after that Vaughan and McGrath matched each other stroke for stroke.

They had any number of free offerings which they dispatched with a certain verve although it was nothing to what Lehmann did later. Both drove admirably, they cut powerfully and played easily off their pads. Vaughan reached 50 just before lunch and McGrath soon afterwards with a stinging cover drive off Martin McCague.

Matthew Fleming who is better with the ball in his hand than the coin - he has lost his last nine tosses for Kent - had Vaughan well caught at second slip by Rahul Dravid.

Enter Lehmann, who would have been run out for naught if Walker had hit the stumps with an underarm throw from mid-wicket. After that he was unstoppable. His 50 came from 43 balls and it was a magnificent exhibition of strokeplay. He and McGrath put on 195 in 38 overs for the third wicket.

McGrath was caught behind feeling outside the off stump off Fleming, who in quick succession then had Lehmann and Gary Fellows also caught behind, hooking and defending respectively. Fleming's four-wicket haul was his best of the season. David Byas then pushed Martin Saggers to cover and when the day ended Kent will have been feeling hugely relieved.

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