Yorkshire are firmly in the hunt for their second successive Bob Willis Trophy victory ahead of what could be a thrilling final day against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
As has been the case throughout this second round North Group fixture, both sides battled hard for their rewards during a third day which Yorkshire began 91 runs in arrears and closed leading by 168 with three wickets in hand.
The White Rose – winners at Durham last week – started their second innings at the beginning of the day and reached 259-7 from 98 overs.
Jonny Bairstow top-scored with a hard working 75 off 140 balls, while Adam Lyth also posted a similar 50 off 124.
Further valuable contributions followed from Harry Brook (30), Jonny Tattersall (41 not out) and Jordan Thompson (33) against a Notts attack shorn of new ball seamer Jake Ball, who left the field after three overs clutching his side.
Bairstow and Lyth shared a century partnership for the second wicket on a pitch offering most help for spinners.
But, unfortunately, they both fell in quick succession as the visitors lost three wickets for one run in 18 balls midway through the afternoon, slipping from 135-1 to 136-4 as spinners Samit Patel and Matt Carter – twice – struck.
Yorkshire lost Tom Kohler-Cadmore for a golden duck seven balls into the day when he edged Zak Chappell to second slip, where Carter took a low catch – 4-1.
Bairstow and Lyth then set about a 131-run partnership inside 43 overs either side of lunch, taking the lead in the early afternoon.
While playing some eye-catching strokes, the pair were prevented from being at their dominant best by a combination of some tight bowling on a surface showing signs of turn and uneven bounce.
Bairstow could have fallen on 14 when an edge at Carter’s off-spin burst through the hands of Steven Mullaney at slip.
But he went on to post his fifty off 100 balls immediately after lunch – his first in first-class cricket in a week short of a year.
Lyth followed him to the same milestone off 117 balls, though the left-hander failed to add to his score before departing as the first of the mini-collapse.
He edged Patel’s left-arm spin, playing to leg, to Mullaney at first slip in the 44th over of the innings, leaving the score at 135-2.
Bairstow was then victim of a one-handed diving catch at short-leg from Haseeb Hameed off Carter in the next over.
And when Dawid Malan was also caught at short-leg off Carter for one in the 47th, Yorkshire were under pressure once more.
Brook and Tattersall then shared 50 to steady things through until tea, taking the White Rose to 186-5 after 63 overs and a lead of 95.
Brook lofted Patel for a straight six along the way, but the former England all-rounder got his revenge two balls into the evening.
He had Brook caught at slip off inside-edge and pad by Mullaney.
Tattersall and in-form all-rounder Thompson then inched Yorkshire’s lead upwards as Carter and Patel bowled unchanged through the majority of the evening, as they had done through the afternoon as well.
With Notts bowling mostly spin, they bowled the day’s allotted 90 overs approximately 40 minutes before close, allowing them to take the new ball through Carter and seamer Chappell.
Tattersall and Thompson shared 54 in 30 overs for the sixth wicket, a valuable partnership ended by Chappell with the new ball when the latter was caught at second slip on the drive – 240-6 in the 94th.
Steve Patterson then departed three balls later – caught behind off the same bowler (240-7).
While Yorkshire’s lead is by no means a winning one yet, this is effectively an eight-day old pitch having been used for last week’s Notts v Derbyshire game.
Another factor which could work in the visitors’ favour is that Notts have not won a first-class fixture since June 2018. How much will that play on their minds if Yorkshire can get their leads up towards 200?
Tattersall will begin the final day with Duanne Olivier for company on eight not out.