Adam Lyth described his relief after completing his first century of a “very frustrating” season in the Specsavers County Championship during a rain affected third day against Hampshire at Emerald Headingley.
The Yorkshire opener advanced from 60 not out overnight to 134 not out at lunch before rain wiped out the final two sessions.
Yorkshire are in an extremely strong position ahead of day four at 287-5 in their second innings, leading by 314.
If they were able to force a win, which depends a lot on the weather, it would put them mathematically safe from relegation ahead of next week’s final round clash with relegated Worcestershire at New Road.
A draw would leave them needing a maximum of two points from that clash to stay above Lancashire.
This was 30-year-old Lyth’s first hundred in the Championship since last June.
Prior to this, he had only scored two half-centuries in 2018.
The left-hander celebrated reaching his ton off 179 balls with gusto.
“I’ve been on the wrong end of some pretty average decisions if I’m being honest, and it’s been a very frustrating season in red ball cricket,” he said.
“I feel like I’ve been lining the ball up pretty well and getting no rewards.
“You could probably see by my reaction when I ended up getting a hundred how pleased I was.
“I’ve had a bit of luck in this game. I was dropped a couple of times (day three) today. But, beforehand, I hadn’t been getting it.
“Finally, with a bit of luck and hanging in there, I managed to play a nice innings and put the team in a very strong position.”
Lyth completed a fifth-wicket stand of 133 inside 42 overs with Jonny Tattersall, who added 43.
Both men were dropped during the 33 overs bowled – Lyth twice.
Substitute fielder Aneurin Donald took the gloves following a left thumb injury suffered by regular keeper Tom Alsop.
Donald, diving to his right, impaired first slip Ian Holland when Tattersall, on 16, got an edge off Kyle Abbott as he tried to leave alone.
Lyth was then dropped twice, both times by Donald off Liam Dawson’s left-arm spin.
The first came when he was on 80 – Dawson’s first ball of the morning.
The second came when he was on 94. And next ball, there was a convincing appeal for caught behind turned down by umpire Graham Lloyd.
The last three Championship matches have provided Lyth and his team-mates with confidence that their cricket, in particular their batting, is heading in the right direction ahead of 2019.
“We haven’t quite got the runs we’d have liked this season, and I’m probably speaking for everybody. We’ve been batting on some challenging wickets,” he said.
“But the last three or four weeks, the lads have showed signs. Gary (Ballance) is back to his best, Tom’s (Kohler-Cadmore) been outstanding since he’s come back into the team and myself, this second innings, I’m somewhere back towards my best.
“Looking forwards to next week, the batters feel good, and the bowlers have been outstanding.”
He added: “I was looking on my phone the other day, and there’s only two batsmen in the country who have got over 1,000 runs in the season, and that’s Rory Burns and Ian Bell.
“In 2010 (when Lyth was the first in the country to achieve that feat), I bet there was 20 blokes who got 1,000.
“There are two games fewer now, so that instantly makes it harder. But when you’re playing most of your games in April and September, it’s going to be difficult.”
Play was abandoned at 2.30pm.