Lancashire are within sight of an LV= County Championship Roses double over Yorkshire at Headingley.
Four more wickets for the concession of less than 148 runs will seal a seventh four-day win of the season, at least temporarily closing the gap on Division One leaders Durham in the process.
Yorkshire will begin tomorrow’s final day on 136-6 after 41 overs, but they had been reasonably well placed at 80-1 in their pursuit of 284.
Captain Glen Chapple led the bowling attack superbly with three wickets, but huge credit should also go to Kyle Hogg, Sajid Mahmood and Gary Keedy for their earlier contributions with the bat.
Lancashire were tottering at 87-8 in their second innings at lunch on day three, an overall lead of just 176 with only two wickets left.
Conditions may still be useful for bowling, but Yorkshire would have been the favourites to chase down anything less than 200.
Instead, they were faced with a much stiffer task as Mahmood and Hogg chipped in with half-centuries and a ninth-wicket stand of 80.
It was not quite a case of saying to Rich Pyrah and Ryan Sidebottom ‘anything you can do, we can do better’ after their first innings stand of 154 on Thursday, but the pair look to have done enough with some attacking strokeplay.
Mahmood and Hogg hit 16 fours and one six between them to knock Yorkshire off their stride when they had the upper hand. Four of Mahmood’s boundaries even came off four balls during a Sidebottom over that cost him 18, while Hogg emphatically pulled Ajmal Shahzad for six.
Keedy’s contribution of three off 30 balls should not be forgotten because he shared 27 for the last wicket with Hogg.
“For Saj and Hoggy to put some runs on, then myself and Hoggy to chip in at the end, was crucial,” said Keedy, who also later struck with the ball. “The difference between chasing 200 and 280 is massive.”
Mahmood added: “Six down looks good on the scoreboard, and they’re under a lot of pressure. I wouldn’t want to be in their dressing room at the moment. We need to build pressure and get the ball in the right areas. Hopefully it will keep swinging for us.”
Yorkshire started their reply in positive fashion thanks in the main to Jacques Rudolph, who is playing the first match of a second spell with the White Rose county. He looked ominously good for 35.
They had reached 80-1, but lost Anthony McGrath and Rudolph in successive overs.
McGrath was trapped lbw by Hogg before Mahmood got Rudolph in identical fashion.
There was delay for bad light, which was definitely a hindrance to Yorkshire, who had very little to gain when play resumed at 6pm with 16.2 overs remaining.
Chapple returned to bowl Jonny Bairstow and Keedy had Gary Ballance caught at silly point in his first over, leaving the score at 119-5. Tim Bresnan was the sixth to go when he edged Chapple to Tom Smith at second slip, leaving the hosts up against it.
Resuming on 33-3 yesterday morning, Lancashire’s middle order were blown away by two wickets each for England’s Bresnan (4-50) and Rich Pyrah. Steven Croft, Mark Chilton, Smith, Chapple and Gareth Cross all fell before lunch.
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
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