Yorkshire title dream still alive

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Chris Read

Chris Read is cleaned up by Ajmal Shahzad, who took 4-100 before Yorkshire chased down 209 to seal a crucial victory

Yorkshire put themselves right back into the race for the LV= County Championship Division One title with a deserved five-wicket victory over leaders Nottinghamshire.

After bowling the hosts out for 413 in their second innings, with Ajmal Shahzad picking up four wickets to take his match haul to 8-121, Yorkshire raced to their victory target of 209 inside 43 overs thanks to a sparkling unbeaten 63 from Jonathan Bairstow.

There was a brief scare when they lost their top four in the space of six overs, but Bairstow put on 97 in 15 overs for the fifth wicket with Gerard Brophy, before taking a single to square-leg to complete the win.

The victory meant Yorkshire climbed to within seven points of Notts going into the final round of matches, and with Somerset claiming victory over Lancashire to retain second place, the title could still be claimed by any one of three counties.

Notts began the day 152 ahead on 357 for six, realistically needing another 100 to stand a chance of an unlikely win after being bowled out for just 59 in their first innings.

Nightwatchman Darren Pattinson advanced the score to 373 before misjudging the line of a delivery from Steven Patterson to be plumb lbw shouldering arms for 27, and Notts then saw the last three wickets fall in 12 balls.

Steven Mullaney was bowled by Patterson with one that kept low, skipper Chris Read castled for 47 by an off-cutter from Shahzad and last man Luke Fletcher deceived by a slower ball from the England seamer to also be bowled.

Notts desperately needed early wickets to put any pressure on the visitors but instead openers Adam Lyth and Jacques Rudolph put on 65 in the 12 overs before lunch to deflate the hopes of the home fans.

Pattinson briefly provided some inspiration either side of a half-hour rain break, Rudolph edging to gully and Anthony McGrath gloving a vicious throat ball to Read behind the stumps.

The seamer then had Lyth caught at first slip to claim wickets in three consecutive overs and, when Andre Adams bowled Andrew Gale through the gate, Notts again had a sniff.

But Bairstow and Brophy took advantage of the attacking field to charge towards the finish, Brophy falling for 41 with 17 needed to an edge to slip off Adams, before Bairstow finished things off in the company of Adil Rashid.

Notts now travel to Old Trafford knowing a 22-point victory will guarantee them the title, having gained more wins over the season than either of their rivals, while Yorkshire must take maximum points from their home tie with Kent and rely on both Notts and Somerset dropping points.

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