White Rose close in on top-flight return

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Yorkshire established themselves as firm favourites to claim a victory that would guarantee their promotion after they dominated the second day against Essex at Chelmsford.

The visitors reached stumps on 44 for three, ahead by 179 runs and boosted by news from the SWALEC Stadium, where third-placed Kent were struggling badly against Glamorgan.

After securing a third batting point before they were bowled out for 312 in their first innings, Yorkshire claimed three bowling points as they dismissed Essex for 177 to earn a lead of 135.

The visitors, who resumed on 284 for eight, lost their remaining two overnight wickets for the addition of 28 runs, both to fast bowler Graham Napier.

First the seamer had Azeem Rafiq caught behind for 53 with the visitors just one run short of picking up a third batting point and he then wound up the innings by breaching the defences of Steven Patterson.

That gave Napier figures of 5-65 from 27.2 overs, the seventh time in his career that he has collected five or more wickets in an innings.

Moin Ashraf & Yorkshire

Moin Ashraf is congratulated on the third of his four wickets on day two at Chelmsford, which helped Yorkshire move closer to promotion

Essex’s hopes of launching a solid reply soon lay in ruins as they lost three wickets for 26 before lunch.

Jaik Mickleburgh was bowled by paceman Patterson, spinner Rafiq trapped Tom Westley lbw with his first delivery and pace bowler Moin Ashraf pinned Mark Pettini in the crease.

When Owais Shah edged to Adam Lyth at first slip to became another victim of Rafiq, Essex found themselves in dire straits at 34 for four.

However, the clatter of wickets did not deter Ryan ten Doeschate from his natural instinct to go boldly for his shots.

While James Foster was content to drop anchor, ten Doeschate twice despatched Rafiq for six on his way to a 74-ball half-century.

A stand of 63 was broken when Patterson returned to remove Foster lbw, his share 16 from 62 balls.

Ten Doeschate's brave effort eventually came to an end when he pulled Rafiq to Gary Ballance on the midwicket boundary, having contributed 62 from 114 deliveries.

In the end, it needed an entertaining unbeaten knock of 20 from Tymal Mills, which included two sixes, to ensure Essex avoided the follow-on.

His 10th-wicket partnership with Tom Craddock produced 29 before Ashraf brought the Essex reply to a close when Lyth held his third catch of the innings.

Ashraf finished with 4-36 from 11.5 overs, while Rafiq picked up 3-65 from 15.

Napier soon added to his list of victims when Yorkshire went in again. He claimed three wickets in a six-over spell costing 14, starting with that of Joe Root, caught by Pettini at midwicket.

Shah held a sharp catch at slip to get rid of Phil Jaques and Pettini's safe pair of hands, this time at point, saw the departure of Andrew Gale.

That left Yorkshire 36 for three, but bad light denied Essex the opportunity of making further inroads with seven overs still remaining.

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