Ballance leads Yorkshire recovery
Warwickshire went joint top of the LV= County Championship Division One but they had little else to cheer as Yorkshire fought back with both ball and bat on day three at Edgbaston.
Jim Troughton’s side are looking to take full advantage of Lancashire’s defeat at Worcestershire yesterday but Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid’s unbroken stand of 149 for the sixth wicket helped the White Rose close on 319 for five - a lead of 282.
Warwickshire’s cause was undermined this morning, when, after resuming on 281 for six - level with Yorkshire’s first-innings total - they lost their last four wickets for just 37 runs as Ryan Sidebottom finished with 5-43.
Opener Joe Root fell one short of a half-century and despite Anthony McGrath contributing 57, Yorkshire were only 133 ahead with five wickets remaining.
Ballance and Rashid calmed any nerves, though, and the former will need just eight more runs for his century, while Rashid’s 62 not out has acted as a capable foil as Yorkshire bid for an unlikely victory that would see them move just one point behind relegation rivals Worcestershire.
Craig Meschede and Alfonso Thomas offered similar resistance but the former’s dismissal has left Somerset on the brink of defeat against Hampshire at Taunton.
The visitors converted their overnight 484 for four into 627 for nine declared to secure a 423-run first-innings lead.
Jimmy Adams was finally dismissed for 207, while Sean Ervine fell two short of a century,
Somerset appeared to be sinking without trace when they slipped to 132 for six, but Meschede, competing in just his third first-class match, and Thomas, unbeaten on 79, put on 134 for the seventh wicket.
Any hopes the hosts had of avoiding an innings defeat were dented after Meschede was bowled by Dimitri Mascarenhas for 53 off the last ball of the day as the hosts closed on 266 for seven - still trailing by 157.
Durham look to have boosted their title hopes after Sussex closed on 119 for four in their pursuit of 521 at the PROBIZ County Ground.
The north-east county have played a game more than both Lancashire and Warwickshire but a strong performance this week has resurrected their championship challenge after successive defeats to Hampshire and Nottinghamshire.
Resuming on 93 without loss, Will Smith reached exactly 100 before he was trapped in front by Monty Panesar, while further half-centuries from Paul Collingwood and Ian Blackwell allowed Durham to declare at tea having reached 366 for seven.
Sussex had four sessions to reach their mammoth total and, despite Ed Joyce’s 57, Blackwell picked up two wickets - including Joyce - to give Durham the firm advantage heading into the final day.
Middlesex wasted little time in wrapping up a 10-wicket victory over Leicestershire at Lord’s, which takes them to the top of the Division Two table.
Leicestershire already seemed destined to suffer a heavy defeat when they began the final day just five ahead on 308 for seven in their second innings.
Toby Roland-Jones picked up two of the remaining wickets to finish with 4-64 as the division’s bottom club were dismissed for 338.
England Test captain Andrew Strauss, who made a career-best 241 in the first innings, and Chris Rogers then knocked off the 36 runs required in less than six overs to take their side six points clear of Northamptonshire.
Andrew Hall’s men will move back alongside Middlesex on 207 points should they salvage a draw against Surrey, but that appears extremely unlikely after the visitors dominated proceedings on day three at Wantage Road.
Overnight batsmen Steven Davies and Zander de Bruyn progressed to 156 and 108 not out respectively before Surrey declared 485 ahead on 410 for six.
Kyle Coetzer struck 54 for Northants, who were once again without the injured Stephen Peters, in their second innings, but they closed on 103 for four, still 382 in arrears. India spinner Pragyan Ojha picked up 2-3 from five overs.
Kent completed a routine six-wicket triumph over Essex, although they were subsequently docked eight points after the Canterbury surface was deemed ‘poor’ by an ECB pitch panel.
David Balcombe removed Tom Craddock with the 14th delivery of the third morning to bring an end to Essex’s second innings on 185 and claim match figures of 10-102, his first 10-wicket match haul in county cricket.
Chasing just 70 for victory, Kent slipped to 18 for three and 35 for four before Martin van Jaarsveld and Geraint Jones saw them over the line.
Gloucestershire need a further 133, with nine second-innings wickets in hand, to defeat Glamorgan after 19 wickets tumbled on an action-packed third day at Bristol.
The hosts resumed on 278 for two, trailing by 100, but collapsed to 341 all out prior to lunch, Graham Wagg and Jim Allenby finishing with three wickets apiece.
Jon Lewis, with 4-43, and Will Gidman, who returned 3-31, then combined to help dismiss Glamorgan for just 148.
Wicketkeeper Richard Coughtrie claimed six catches and ended the day unbeaten on 19 in a score of 53 for one, Chris Dent having contributed 33.