Van Jaarsveld gives Yorkshire reason to regret

Yorkshire 261 Kent 216-6
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The Independent Online

When Yorkshire failed to sign Martin van Jaarsveld last season they probably did not realise how frustrating his decision to stay at Kent would be.

However, after his innings here yesterday helped his side stay in contention in the two teams' crunch County Championship fixture, his decision to stay down south will be a source of great annoyance for the Tykes all over again. The South African made 89 to help Kent post 216 for 6 by the close on day two.

That represents a decent total for a team who have failed to get past 250 in their last six innings, and it means that this game is now beautifully poised at the mid-way point with Yorkshire still having a 45-run advantage.

The lead would have been far more for the title challengers had it not been for Van Jaarsveld though, who came to the crease with the visitors on 46 for 2. At first he was attacking, reaching his half-century in 55 balls, before slowing down as the wickets tumbled around him to go past 1,000 Championship runs for the season and finish 11 short of his century.

The South African certainly benefited from favourable batting conditions, as the sun came out after the morning session was washed out, but his diligence at the crease was vital with some of his team-mates losing their wickets cheaply.

Openers Joe Denly (26) and Sam Northeast (20) had both looked good early on, before falling to Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Ajmal Shahzad with loose shots, whilst Yorkshire's latest young talent, 18 year-old Moin Ashraf, also weighed in with two wickets.

At this stage Kent were struggling, on 142 for 5, before Alex Blake (40 not out) gave Van Jaarsveld some late support to help add 68 to the score for the sixth wicket. Van Jaarsveld was then out late on to Ashraf, meaning that Yorkshire will now be confident of finishing Kent off quickly on the penultimate day.

They will certainly hope that the visitors tail does not show the resistance that their own did on yesterday though. Resuming on 205 for 7, the Kent attack soon removed Jonny Bairstow with only the sixteenth ball of the day for 64 to leave Yorkshire eight wickets down. Then, after Hannon-Dalby was out for only one, a spirited last-wicket partnership from Steve Patterson and Ashraf gave the Tykes important late momentum.

Through a mixture of good cricket shots and luck they added 41 runs to the total, with Patterson finishing unbeaten on 39 and Ashraf recording a career-best score of 10.

Their efforts helped Yorkshire over the 250 mark, to pick up a second batting bonus point, before Van Jaarsveld's knock kept this game in the balance. The one thing that both teams do now have in their favour, with a decent weather forecast for the next two days, is that a positive result seems likely. With that perhaps being unlikely in other games, both Yorkshire and Kent know their destinies at differing ends of the table could still be in their own hands.