Ashraf keeps Yorkshire in the hunt

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Moin Ashraf

Moin Ashraf produced a brilliant performance that belied his age to keep Yorkshire in the hunt for the championship

Moin Ashraf produced a brilliant bowling performance to keep alive Yorkshire’s hopes of beating Kent at Headingley Carnegie and snatching the title in the final LV= County Championship match of the season.

The 18-year-old fast bowler, who had earlier featured in a 52-run stand for the last wicket, finished the second day with figures of 3-16 on only his second championship appearance.

Kent, who need to win to stay in the top tier, closed on 216 for six, 45 behind Yorkshire’s total of 261.

Rain and a wet outfield meant the second day could not get under way until after an early lunch had been taken, with Yorkshire resuming on 205 for seven.

But hopes that Jonathan Bairstow could go on to complete a maiden century were quickly dashed as he managed to add just two to his overnight 62 before being caught at second slip by Martin van Jaarsveld off Dewald Nel.

In his next over Nel claimed a sixth wicket for the first time in his career as Oliver Hannon-Dalby fell lbw.

Last man Ashraf gave valuable support to Steve Patterson in a 10th-wicket stand of 52, though, earning Yorkshire an unexpected second batting bonus point in the process.

Ashraf, dropped before he had scored and again on five, took 20 balls to get off the mark, while Patterson played some excellent attacking strokes.

Spinner James Tredwell was called upon for the first time in the innings and, with his third delivery, had Ashraf caught behind by Geraint Jones, leaving Patterson unbeaten on 39 from 59 balls with seven fours.

The pitch, less green than on the first day, had lost some of its pace and Sam Northeast and Joe Denly made a promising start to Kent’s reply, although the latter should have been caught by Bairstow at second slip on 15.

Yorkshire were in need of a breakthrough and it came from Hannon-Dalby, who had Denly taken at third slip by Adil Rashid.

In the following over Shahzad accounted for Northeast, superbly caught by wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy diving low to his right in front of first slip.

Kent’s innings was bolstered by some attractive batting by van Jaarsveld in an 83-run stand with Rob Key.

The South African thumped Shahzad over square-leg for six and a long hop from Rashid received similar treatment as he dashed to his half-century off 55 balls and passed 1,000 runs for the season.

Key had also punished Rashid with two boundaries in the leg-spinner’s first over, but the bowler gained his revenge by trapping him lbw for 25 with a googly.

Ashraf then struck twice to leave Kent 142 for five as he pinned Darren Stevens lbw before shattering Jones’ stumps with a perfect yorker.

The pendulum kept swinging one way and then the other as Kent hit back courtesy of a sixth-wicket stand between van Jaarsveld and Alex Blake as the evening shadows lengthened.

The pair eased their side past the 200 mark, and a batting bonus point, but Ashraf rejoined the attack to deny van Jaarsveld his century by having him caught behind for 89, an innings that spanned 128 balls and contained seven fours.

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