Not many things are certain in life, but there are a few. Death, taxes and Gary Ballance runs at the Ageas Bowl.

Ballance scored a brilliant 101 not out off 86 balls as Yorkshire moved towards an LV= Insurance County Championship victory, setting Hampshire 393 late on day three.

The hosts finished on 26-2 in their chase.

Ballance has now scored six hundreds in nine first-class career appearances at the Ageas Bowl, both for Yorkshire and England in Championship and Test cricket.

The left-hander, trying to explain his record, said: “I’ve got good memories of playing here – I’ve had quite a bit of success. So I do feel quite confident when I come down here.

“But it is just is one of those things.

“When the lads come down here, they always say, ‘It’s your ground, it’s your ground’. I never want to be complacent, though, and just think it will happen because I’ve scored runs before.”

You can also imagine there being the odd comment from the Hampshire dressing room along the lines of, ‘Oh no, not you again!’

“There might be the odd comment,” chuckled Ballance, before continuing: “I think it was more the situation when I came in today – it was a great time to bat. We were leading by nearly 200 with eight wickets left.

“It was almost a no lose situation and I could go and be positive.
“It’s a nice place to bat, but I have to give a lot of credit to the guys above me. Hilly and Tom did all the hard work and put us in a great position. Then I came in and slogged a few!

“Luckily a few came out of the middle and ended up with a hundred. Going out to bat, I didn’t think of that or expect it, but it’s always nice to get a hundred.

“It’s not a typical pitch down here – a little bit more seam than normal and a bit up and down. It’s been hard work.”

On Yorkshire’s chances of forcing home the win tomorrow,” he said: “We know we’re going to have to work hard. They’ve got some good batters to come. But if we bowl like we did in the first innings, we’ll create enough chances.”

This is the first of four remaining Division One games which will decide the county champions and the Bob Willis Trophy finalists.

Yorkshire started bottom of the six-team conference on 4.5 points with Warwickshire top on 21.

“We’ve only got four games, so we know we’re going to have to win three of them,” added Ballance.

“We don’t desperately need a win here because there are three games after this. But, being in this position, we’d like to come away with a win.”

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