Northamptonshire v Yorkshire (Day Three): CLOSE— 2 June 2014
Another strong day of batting, which included a stunning 230 from Adam Lyth and an excellent 138 for opening partner Alex Lees, has left Yorkshire on course for victory over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
The White Rose’s opening pair shared 375, the county’s fourth highest partnership in their history, and were followed by aggressive half-centuries for Aaron Finch and Jack Leaning as Northants were set 432 with 24 overs left in the day.
Andrew Gale declared at approximately 4.30pm with 24 overs left in the day and his side on 546-3 in their second innings.
And he saw Tim Bresnan pick up two of the three wickets to fall as Northants closed on 66-3, needing 366 more to pull off an improbable win of their own. Matt Spriegel and Rob Keogh will resume tomorrow unbeaten on 14 and 19 respectively.
Lyth hit 230 off 398 balls with 31 fours and a six, Lees 138 off 349 with 14 fours, Finch hit 63 off 64 with three fours and two sixes and Leaning finished on 52 not out off 53 with three fours and a six. This was 20-year-old Leaning’s maiden first-class fifty.
Lyth and Lees batted for 118.3 overs of Yorkshire’s second innings in stark contrast to the county’s first innings when they were bowled out for 136.
The pair also shared Yorkshire’s highest partnership since much vaunted openers Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe set about a club record 555 against Essex at Leyton back in 1932.
Lyth brought up his second career double hundred off 351 balls when he pulled Azharullah for his 28th four during the afternoon added to a lofted six over mid-off.
Lees fell shortly afterwards when he lofted Spriegel’s off-spinners to Maurice Chambers at mid-on having scored his maiden Championship century of the season.
Lyth, meanwhile, passed 650 Championship runs for the season, and he is one of only two men in Division One to have achieved that feat. Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel is the other man.
Lyth fell nearly ten overs after Lees when he was caught behind off former South Africa seamer Andrew Hall, leaving the score at 424-2 after 128 overs.
Finch then scored the 14th fifty of his first-class career, added to two hundreds, off 53 balls as he played a crunching innings, albeit not quite with the sustained ferocity we have seen from him in the limited overs game.
Leaning also reached his maiden half-century off 51 balls, the pair having shared 62 for the third wicket.
After Finch fell caught at cover to Chambers, Leaning and Jonny Bairstow (25 not out) added an unbroken 60 for the fourth wicket inside seven overs immediately before the declaration came from Gale.
Yorkshire had to wait the best part of eleven overs for the breakthrough, but struck three times in 14 balls as Northants slipped from 31-0 to 32-3.
Bresnan had James Middlebrook caught behind with the last ball of the eleventh before getting Stephen Peters caught at second slip by Lyth in the 13th. Jack Brooks then trapped David Sales lbw with the first ball of the 14th.
Northamptonshire have finally struck at Wantage Road in Yorkshire’s second innings, but the White Rose are still in control thanks to Adam Lyth and Alex Lees.
The opening pair shared 375 inside 119, the fourth highest partnership for any wicket in Yorkshire history.
Lees was caught at mid-on against Matt Spriegel for a 349-ball 138 before Lyth was caught behind off Andrew Hall for 230 off 398 balls with 31 fours and a six.
Aaron Finch has since scored a debut fifty, and he will resume after tea on 56 not out with Jack Leaning (unbeaten on 21) for company. They have shared 54 unbroken for the third wicket.
Yorkshire are 478-2, a lead of 363. Bad light stopped play two overs before the scheduled tea break.