Andrew Gale says an ideal scenario would see Yorkshire defending a target in the region of 250 against Nottinghamshire tomorrow, but that 200 would give his side every chance of victory at Trent Bridge.
Gale praised the application shown by his players during a hard-fought third day which saw Yorkshire take a lead of 168 with three second-innings wickets in hand in this second round Bob Willis Trophy fixture.
Jonny Bairstow’s 75 led a series of important contributions, including Adam Lyth’s 50. They shared a second-wicket century stand either side of lunch.
Harry Brook also contributed 30, while Jonny Tattersall added 41 not out and Jordan Thompson 33.
“At the start of the day, I asked for fight, character, resilience and patience, and I think we’ve seen that today,” said coach Gale, whose side started the day 91 runs in arrears and closed on 259-7.
“The lads dug in there. It wasn’t easy – it’s a day seven pitch. To still be batting at the end of the day is very pleasing.
“Hopefully we can put on a few more in the morning and you never know – 10-2 or 20-2, it becomes a tricky chase.
“I was a bit disappointed with that first hour on the first day.
“I didn’t think it was a 40-4 pitch, and we gave them wickets really.
“We should have got a few more first-innings runs, and we’ve had to fight our way back into the game ever since.
“The partnership between Lythy and Jonny was excellent. It was just disappointing to lose them both quickly and put us on the back foot again.
“But the partnership between Tatts and Tommo (54 for the seventh wicket) was really key and took the sting out of the game again.
“It was just a shame we didn’t get Tommo through to close, but it’s given us a platform where we’ve got something to bowl at.
“I’d like a few more runs, I’m not going to lie. I’d like 250 on the board. But if we can find a way of scraping to 200, we’re well in the game.
“If we can nip a couple out early, Notts could easily panic. You never know.”
England’s Bairstow – available for two Bob Willis Trophy matches, including Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley from Saturday – posted his first first-class fifty in almost a year, earning praise from Gale.
“Bluey played nicely,” he said.
“In the first innings you’re looking for a few more runs from him, but today he had the bit between his teeth.
“He was really fluent and looked a class apart on what is a tough pitch.
“It was disappointing when he got out because I thought he was nailed on for a big one. But he looks in really good touch and has been good around the dressing room.
“It’s been great to have him back.”
Meanwhile, Gale gave an injury update on seamers Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher.
“I wouldn’t have thought they’ll be available for Saturday (Derbyshire),” he said.
“Coady has got a slight tear in his oblique (side) and Fish has got a slight tear in his ab (abdomen).
“If we were playing a full county season, you’d be looking at four to six weeks. But we’re in a shortened season, so we might have to take a risk and bring them back a bit earlier than we’d like.
“The next game is probably out of the question, but the week after (Lancashire at home) we’ll have to see. We’ll take it week by week.”