Dawid Malan scored a majestic 199 as Yorkshire search for a vital LV= Insurance County Championship victory over Sussex at Emerald Headingley.
Left-handed Malan belied his reputation in many quarters as a T20 specialist to underpin Yorkshire’s commanding response to Sussex’s first-innings 313 in excellent batting conditions on a warm and sunny day.
The White Rose were bowled out for 558 after tea on day three, a lead of 245, before Sussex closed on 38-0 from 23 overs in their second innings.
Malan was bowled by Irish off-spinner Jack Carson one run short of becoming Yorkshire’s first player to post double hundreds in two consecutive first-class innings having scored 219 in the Bob Willis Trophy last August.
He received a deserved standing ovation from a Headingley crowd who were watching the 33-year-old left-hander live for the first time since he had decided to move from Middlesex towards the end of the 2019 summer.
Yorkshire started the day on 292-2, trailing by 41, and they lost two wickets in each of the first two sessions and four after tea on the way to their highest total since 2016 when they posted 593-5 here against Hampshire.
Malan and Gary Ballance completed a third-wicket partnership of 180, adding only three runs this morning before the latter was caught behind off Jack Carson’s off-spin for 77.
Malan and Harry Brook then shared an entertaining and brisk 99, including 49 for Brook before he was caught behind down leg off the impressive seam of Jamie Atkins.
That left Yorkshire at 374-4, a lead of 161.
Dom Bess fell to Stuart Meaker shortly after lunch and Malan, having hit 22 fours and two sixes in his 289 balls, fell for 199 for the second time in his career when Carson uprooted his off stump – 459-6, a lead of 146.
Left-handed Malan drove particularly handsomely as well as deflecting and guiding with complete ease before being bowled by a turning delivery from highly rated Carson.
Nineteen-year-old wicketkeeper Harry Duke’s 54 – his second career fifty in his third Championship appearance – was supported by Jordan Thompson’s 42 as they pushed the home lead close to the 250-mark.
There was late encouragement for Sussex seamer Atkins, also aged 19 like Duke, in the midst of a difficult situation.
Four of their frontline bowlers, Stuart Meaker aside, have only 21 career first-class appearances between them.
Atkins finished with a career best 5-98 from 26 overs, four of his wickets taken on day three. He claimed three of Yorkshire’s last four to fall.
Atkins trapped Duke lbw, had Thompson caught slapping to mid-off and bowled Ben Coad to wrap up the innings and begin Sussex’s second-innings rearguard action.
A Yorkshire win would leave them four points behind Group Three leaders Lancashire with two games remaining following the Red Rose’s six-wicket defeat at Glamorgan as the hosts chased 188.
But, make no mistake, Steve Patterson and his bowlers have plenty of work to do in batting-friendly conditions during tomorrow’s fourth and final day.
Sussex openers Ali Orr, on debut and Tom Haines closed the day with 23 and 12 respectively.