Red Rose poised for victory
Lancashire are on course to record a Roses double against Yorkshire in the LV= County Championship after taking five late wickets in another undulating day at Headingley Carnegie.
Setting their rivals an imposing target of 284 to win, they reduced Yorkshire to 136 for six, with Glen Chapple registering 3-44, leaving the Red Rose county needing four wickets to claim a vital victory in their quest for the Division One title.
The hosts would have been delighted with their progress as they moved serenely to 80 for one but Kyle Hogg and Sajid Mahmood combined for the second time in the day, taking a wicket apiece in the space of three balls to remove the established pair of Jacques Rudolph and Anthony McGrath.
After a 40-minute rain delay Jonathan Bairstow, Gary Ballance and Tim Bresnan were then dismissed in the final hour to leave the hosts facing defeat.
They need another 148 on the final day and will rely heavily on skipper Andrew Gale, who is 28 not out.
It had looked as if Yorkshire would be chasing under 200 as Bresnan, who was released by England yesterday, played a vital role in reducing Lancashire to 96 for eight at lunch with some fine seam and swing bowling.
But in strikingly similar fashion to the second day, where Yorkshire’s Richard Pyrah and Ryan Sidebottom shared a ninth-wicket partnership of 154 to claw their side back from 45 for eight, Lancashire’s ninth-wicket pairing of Mahmood and Hogg counter-attacked after lunch and put on a stand of 80 to build a commanding lead.
Mahmood plundered 50 off 51 balls and Hogg hit a six and eight fours in his 52 before Lancashire were dismissed for 194, with Bresnan claiming 4-50 off 24 overs and Pyrah following up his century with 2-26.
Lancashire began the day on 33 for three, 122 ahead. Bresnan found his rhythm from the off and was duly rewarded in the ninth over of the day when he jagged one back and sent Steven Croft’s off stump flying.
Mark Chilton did not survive much longer as he was trapped in front by Pyrah and Ryan Sidebottom got into the act when Tom Smith missed a full and straight delivery and was adjudged lbw.
Wickets continued to fall and Pyrah got his second when Chapple was superbly caught behind by Bairstow before Gareth Cross was trapped in front for 19 by a Bresnan ball that kept low.
It was a different story in the afternoon session, however, as Mahmood and Hogg turned the tables for Lancashire and took their lead above the 200-mark in swashbuckling style.
Mahmood, dropped at third slip when on 23, was in a particularly attacking mood and brought up the fifty partnership with an authoritative pull through midwicket off Bresnan before hitting Sidebottom for four consecutive fours in the following over, the first a smearing straight drive.
He brought up his 48-ball half-century with a clip into the leg side off Adil Rashid, but just three balls later was bowled by a flighted delivery when playing an ungainly swipe.
Hogg continued the onslaught, though, with a barrage of brutal hits off Ajmal Shahzad, the second being a meaty hook that sailed into the crowd for a maximum.
He reached his fifty off 65 balls with an inside edge to the fine-leg boundary before being run out for 52 to bring an end to the innings.
By that stage, the damage had been done as Lancashire had scrambled to a total of 194, leaving Yorkshire a target of 284 to win.
The hosts’ response was delayed by bad light, but in overcast conditions they made a bright start once play did resume, with Rudolph dominating with three classy off-side boundaries.
A change of ends for Chapple brought the breakthrough, though, as he drew Joe Root into an edge and Paul Horton held on at first slip.
Rudolph and Anthony McGrath steadied the ship, taking Yorkshire past 50 before the latter was given leg before to a straight delivery from Hogg.
Yorkshire skipper Gale avoided a king pair when he glided his first ball down to third man for four, but with the first delivery of the next over the game swung back towards Lancashire again when Mahmood caught Rudolph plumb in front for a well-made 35.
After a period of rebuilding in partnership with Gale, Bairstow succumbed to a delivery that kept low from Chapple to leave Yorkshire 118 for four.
That became 119 for five when Gary Ballance picked up a pair after being caught at silly point off Gary Keedy and Bresnan also went at the death, edging Chapple to slip.