George Hill’s maiden first-team century led a near perfect Yorkshire batting performance on day three as they set Northamptonshire a victory target of 499 at Wantage Road.
The 21-year-old, down a place to bat at number three in this game to accommodate Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne in the opener’s berth, amassed an outstanding 151 not out to go with half-centuries for Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan and Harry Brook.
Yorkshire gave themselves a minimum of 119 overs with which to bowl Northants out and secure a second successive LV= Insurance County Championship victory, and the hosts closed on 56-0 from 24 overs.
Yorkshire declared shortly after tea having demoralised a Northants’ attack who failed to stem the flow of runs all day and just after tea had all nine of their outfielders fielders on the boundary.
Although the pitch has remained good for batting on and Northants held firm at the start of their chase, there has been signs of uneven bounce throughout the game, and Yorkshire will be fully confident they can complete what would be a 21-point haul to back up last week’s win over Gloucestershire.
Hill’s 248-ball innings, which included 11 fours and three sixes, came on the ground where he scored his maiden first-class fifty last year.
If that announced him as a cricketer of repute, this innings screamed it from a megaphone.
He hit all of his three sixes over long-on off the spin of Simon Kerrigan and the seam of Ben Sanderson and Gareth Berg.
The Sedbergh School product shared partnerships of 157 for the third wicket either side of lunch with Malan, who made a languid 75, and then an unbroken 148 for the fourth either side of tea with Brook, who finished unbeaten on 77.
Brook was the most aggressive batter on show, facing only 63 balls and finding or clearing the fence on 10 occasions. He was almost playing a shot a ball after tea having passed 50 for the fourth time in as many innings to start the summer.
His trio of sixes went over mid-wicket or long-off, all against seam.
The day started with Yorkshire on 85-1 and Lyth 41. He quickly moved to a half-century, off 81 balls, before edging behind an attempted cut against Australian seamer Matt Kelly, seemingly undone by some extra bounce.
Hill and Malan both reached their fifties during the latter stages of the morning, where Yorkshire reached at 207-2 with a lead of 299.
Hill’s fifty came off 102 balls and his maiden hundred later off 200.
He had to dive full length to complete a quick single for the latter.
By that time, Malan had departed, caught at deep mid-wicket having attempted to slog sweep the off-spin of Rob Keogh (258-3).
Northants raced through the overs with two spinners in operation. Kerrigan and Keogh bowled 42 between them, the former conceding 119 in 23.
Hill used his feet nicely against the former England Test twirler.
Malan’s departure was Northants’ last success.
It was no major surprise that Yorkshire, despite holding a lead of 452 at tea with the score 360-3, batted on afterwards.
They had the opportunity to further demoralise a Northants side, while Hill was only 19 away from 150, which he went on to achieve in 244 balls.
Northamptonshire openers Ricardo Vasconcelos and Will Young, the New Zealand Test overseas batter, then gave their side hope of a draw heading into tomorrow.
They kept out Yorkshire’s five-man attack of Haris Rauf and Jordan Thompson and then Steve Patterson, Dom Bess and Matthew Revis.
Given that Northants bowled spinners for a large part of the day, Yorkshire were able to sneak an extra over in on top of the day’s allotted 96. Vasconcelos finished on 24 and Young 25.