GARY BALLANCE’S excellent unbeaten 91 led Yorkshire into a commanding position against Kent at the halfway stage of their LV= Insurance County Championship fixture at Emerald Headingley.

Replying to Kent’s first-innings 305, secured shortly before lunch on day two, Ballance and Joe Root united for the third wicket during the first half of the afternoon at 48-2 and batted unbroken until early evening to share 83 inside 21 overs.

The White Rose closed on 240-5 from 77 overs, with Harry Brook making also 59 and Root 41.

Ballance later shared 102 inside 32 overs for the fifth wicket with Brook and hit 13 fours and a six in 185 balls. Yorkshire trail by 65.

A day which started with frustration ended positively following the early departures of openers Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

On a slow surface, Kent advanced their first innings from 224-7 in the 90th over overnight, adding a useful 81 inside 23 overs to get to a score which Steve Patterson believed was around 20 runs above par.

Thankfully, his side’s batting has made it look significantly under par.

At 300-8 after 110 overs, Kent prevented Yorkshire from claiming a third bowling bonus point, instead pinching a third batting point.

Rain delayed the start of play by 10 minutes, and Jordan Thompson uprooted Nathan Gilchrist’s middle stump as Kent fell to 244-8.

Marcus O’Riordan and ninth-wicket partner Miguel Cummins, Kent’s West Indian overseas fast bowler, then shared a partnership of 60.

O’Riordan finished with 40, but Cummins smashed two leg-side sixes in one Steve Patterson over, the second of which cleared the stand at the North East Corner.

He finished unbeaten on 28 when the innings was wrapped up inside 112 overs as Duanne Olivier forced O’Riordan to play on and Matt Quinn chipped a return catch to Dom Bess.