AFP
Yasir Shah AFP

When Kent signed up Yasir Shah for the 2017 season, they had probably hoped him to win matches with the ball. It was not a massive expectation, for debutant Yasir s bowling was crucial in Pakistan s victories at Lord s and The Oval last year. He took 15 wickets from the 2 Tests, helping Pakistan level the series 2-2 and clinch the mace reserved for the No. 1 spot in Test rankings. But at the picturesque St Lawrence Ground at Canterbury on Sunday, No. 10 Yasir gritted it out for 81 balls and 55 minutes to save a match against Durham after scoring 48 in the first innings. Giving him company was No. 11 Michael Claydon. The last pair saw off 35 minutes and 46 balls. Kent replace Adam Milne with Yasir Shah

Earlier in the match, Durham captain Paul Collingwood (yes, he still plays, and does so with gusto) scored 120 to help them post 448. Kent were then down to 123 for 8 as Irish medium-pacer Barry McCarthy (6 for 63) ran through them. But Yasir strode in with his first cameo of the match, scoring 48 in 107 balls and adding 113 for the ninth wicket with captain Sam Northeast. Kent eventually scored 236 with Northeast remaining unbeaten on 107.

Collingwood batted a second time and declared on 271 for 6 (he scored 51* himself), setting Kent 484 in a little over a day. Kent did not lose a wicket on Day Three, but they lost Daniel Bell-Drummond early on Day Four. There was a double blow late in the first session when Joe Denly and Sean Dickson fell in the space of 23 balls, but Northeast and Joe Weatherley batted out for almost another session before a triple-blow followed towards the end of the second session.

Adam Rouse fell to Chris Rushworth immediately after Collingwood claimed the second new ball. Rushworth also claimed Northeast (71). With almost two hours to bat, Matt Coles and Yasir decided to play their shots. There was still over half an hour left when debutant Matty Potts trapped Coles leg-before but Yasir and Claydon saw off the rest. Not only did the last two wickets survive 107 balls, but they also added 81 runs.

As for bowling, Yasir was a disappointment, with 1 for 68 and 2 for 94. That obviously needs to improve. It was an ordinary debut as far as his primary suit was concerned, but he more than made up for it. Had he not kept out those 162 balls it would have been impossible for Kent to save the match.