Cricket: Ballance puts Kent firmly on back foot

PUBLISHED: 19:02 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:02 16 May 2019

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance hits out (pic Simon Cooper/PA)

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance hits out (pic Simon Cooper/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Former England batsman Gary Ballance dominated centre stage for almost six-and-a-half hours to put Yorkshire in total control of their Specsavers County Championship match with Kent in Canterbury.

In ideal batting conditions at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence and on a pitch deadened by third-morning use of the heavy roller, the 29-year-old left-hander hit 25 boundaries in a season's best 159 from 291 balls as Yorkshire amassed 469 for a lead of 383 runs.

And in the day's 10 remaining overs, the hosts lost Sean Dickson only eight balls into the reply as, having been hit of the bicep by a fierce no ball bumper from Duanne Olivier, he turned the next delivery to Harry Brook under the helmet at short leg.

In the fifth over, Zak Crawley, on nine, pushed half-forward and outside the line of a Ben Coad off-cutter to go lbw, then in his next over, Coad ripped out the off and leg stumps of Matt Renshaw with another low-bouncing off-cutter to end the Australian Test batsman's final innings of his disappointing Kentish stay.

The hosts suffered no further alarms and went in at stumps on 34-3 with Daniel Bell-Drummond yet to get off the mark with nightwatchman Fred Klaassen. They will require a further 352 for victory on the final day but, with the pitch showing signs of variable bounce, their target already seems highly improbable.

Earlier, Ballance and fourth-wicket partner Jack Leaning batted throughout the morning session without alarm and went on to add 188 in 61 overs either side of lunch with Leaning reaching his 50 from 168 balls and with 10 fours.

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The stand ended in the mid-session when Leaning, on 69, played across one from Matt Milnes to become only the second leg before victim of the game.

Zimbabe-born Ballance had reached three figures from 196 balls and with 18 fours for his third championship ton of the season following hundreds against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge (101*) and Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl (148), both in April .

It was the 38th hundred of Ballance's first-class career and his fourth in consecutive Championship matches having finished last season's campaign with a century against Worcestershire.

Ballance finally succumbed after playing back to a shooting off-cutter from Daniel Bell-Drummond that slid down the Canterbury slope to hit near the base of the sumps.

Despite taking the second new ball, Kent still struggled to roll over the Tykes tail and the majority made double-digit contributions.

After tea, Jon Tattersall sparred at a Matt Milnes leg-cutter to be caught behind, Tim Bresnan chopped on when attempting a back-foot force, and three balls later, Steven Patterson perished in near identical fashion.

Dom Bess miscued a short one from Podmore to mid-on and Ben Coad, after a career-best 35, skied to point to give Podmore a second wicket.

Claydon finished with 3-83 on a day Kent's bowlers will care to forget.

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