Ben Cliff is confident Yorkshire can complete victory over Leicestershire at Grace Road tomorrow.
The visitors have got themselves into an encouraging position ahead of day four at the Uptonsteel County Ground; 113-1 in the second innings, leading by 35.
In normal circumstances, following heavy weather interruptions across the three days, you may look at it and say that time is against Cliff and his team-mates.
But take Leicestershire’s situation in Division Two into account, and the picture looks very different.
They simply have to win – no ifs nor buts – if they are going to keep alive their promotion hopes heading into next week’s final round. They came into this week attempting to bridge a 21-point gap to second-placed Worcestershire, who are on course for a strong draw at home to Durham.
This is the point of no return for Leicestershire. As Cliff says, “They don’t have any choice (but to go for a target), which I think will favour us.”
Cliff, the 20-year-old seamer, impressed today with 2-27 from seven overs as Leicestershire responded to a first-innings 155 with 233 all out. It is only his second career appearance in the Championship after one wicket on debut at Glamorgan last week.
Leicestershire got themselves a lead thanks to a 10th-wicket stand of 93 between Harry Swindells and Will Davis before Yorkshire’s openers Adam Lyth and Fin Bean put on 112 after tea.
“That 90-run partnership from them didn’t help us, but I do still think we can win it tomorrow,” continued Halifax-born Cliff.
“We will try and get some decent runs on the board, and I’m backing our bowlers to bowl them out.”
Cliff had Louis Kimber caught in the slips by his housemate to be Bean before bowling Scott Currie.
“It was nice to have a quick start and get a wicket early doors, certainly quicker than last week,” he said. “It was a bit more of a handier pitch for the seamers, I must say.
“But I’m pleased with the performance.
“It was a shame we couldn’t get that 10th wicket quicker. But, on the whole, I think we were all pretty good.
“It’s one of those wickets where things happen quite quick. You can get a few wickets quickly. If you get it in the right areas, it’s definitely helping you out. But maybe we just got our plans wrong for that 10th wicket.
“Number 11 got his eye in and got a few away. We should have maybe stuck with what was working instead of trying a few different things. We managed to get the job done in the end, and hopefully we can pile them on tomorrow.
“The boys did a pretty good job at the end, especially when it was going dark. In Beany’s first year, he’s been really good. Lythy as well. They’ve been unbelievable.”
Cliff made his first-team debut in the One-Day Cup last August, playing only once in this season’s Metro Bank competition as well.
“I’m a miles better bowler since making my debut last season,” he added.
“I’ve learn a lot from working with Tom Smith in the second team, Ottis Gibson and Kabir Ali – all these guys.
“There’s always someone there who you can talk to and work with. You look at the CVs of everyone here, and it’s pretty good. I’m happy to be able to work with these guys.
“The One-Day Cup didn’t go to plan personally, but I’m happy to be playing red ball cricket and doing well. Hopefully I can build on today and keep it going.”