McGrath's plod angers crowd

Yorkshire 350-8 and 223-4 Kent 299 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
It was not a pretty sight, watching cricket as grey as the clouds that eventually drove everyone off for bad light and mercifully ended proceedings an hour early. The spectators, Yorkshire and Kent alike, showed their disapproval as Yorkshire batted on and on in their second innings with no intention of attempting to set up a result.

Slow handclaps accompanied Anthony McGrath's 19-over plod from 92 to his maiden Championship century; and the fall of his wicket - caught in the deep to give Trevor Ward his seventh first-class victim - was loudly proclaimed by the honking of horns from cars at the Nackington Road End.

Kent's acting captain, Steve Marsh, did everything, including calling on everyone to bowl, as he tried to tempt Yorkshire's obdurate batsmen into flinging the bat to set a target. The Yorkshire captain, David Byas, was adamant that he was not prepared to present Kent with a short run chase - no doubt recalling Matthew Fleming's remarkable Sunday onslaught when he hit 63 off 20 balls.

Byas, who made a fine 79, maintained that if Kent had wanted a deal they should have declared at tea on Saturday. That would have allowed Byas and his band to construct a more worthy target.

And he probably had a point, but it was still a shame for everyone, Kent, the crowd and young McGrath. This burgeoning talent had batted beautifully throughout, showing great restraint as he neared his century.

To a background of catcalls to get on with it, the 20-year-old England A batsman resisted all temptation and contributed to a remarkable spell from Nigel Llong, who reeled off eight maidens in a row before a run was taken off his tidy off-spin.

In all, McGrath was in for almost five hours. He had his share of luck. He was dropped twice on 20 and 55 but he deserved his breaks.

He also deserved his century. It was a pity for him that the single which took him there had to come off a Llong donkey drop, with the Kent fielders spread out in the deep. The match was a triumph for Ward, who followed his first-innings century with a career best of 2 for 10, but it was a collective failure as far as the maddened crowd was concerned.

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