Centurion Harry Brook and Dawid Malan continued their remarkable starts to the summer to open up an outside Yorkshire victory chance against Essex ahead of tomorrow’s fourth day at Chelmsford.
Sixth-wicket pair Brook and Malan stood out from a dominant day three batting performance in this LV= Insurance County Championship fixture, posting 110 not out and 87 not out respectively.
Yorkshire, replying to a first-innings 403, started the day on 81-3 from 36.1 overs and reached close on 425-5 from 125, a lead of 22.
Malan and Brook, who shared an unbroken 210, have now reached at least 50 11 times in 12 innings between them at the start of the 2022 Division One campaign.
Brook has achieved that in all six innings and Malan in all but one.
Brook, 23, catapulted himself to the top of the Division One runs chart following previous scores of 101, 56 not out, 84, 77 not out, 194.
His tally of 622 top-flight runs puts him ahead of Kent opener Ben Compton (560) and will do little to quieten the talk of a potential summer Test debut.
It would be absolutely no surprise to see Malan return to that fold as well. He is now the third highest scorer in the Championship’s top flight on the back of his fifth successive score above 50.
A lot of the headlines will go to a man who is already assured of his place in the Test team when New Zealand visit Lord’s on June 2 to start the international summer, Joe Root, who contributed a well made 75 at the start of the day.
But Brook and Malan looked even more fluent on a pitch which no other batter in the match has been able to score anywhere near as quickly as they did.
Brook got off the mark with a slog swept six and pulled another to reach his century.
Eight overs were lost due to morning rain between 11.50am and 1.25pm.
Former England captain Root is playing his first domestic match of 2022 and also the 50th Championship appearance of his Yorkshire career.
He and nightwatchman Matthew Revis, another impressive contributor with 47, set the visitors on their way with a 124-run partnership for the fourth wicket either side of lunch on a featherbed of a batting pitch.
The condition of the pitch means a Yorkshire win remains unlikely. But you just never know.
Revis demonstrated his significant ability with the bat.
Revis and Root fell within the space of three overs during the second half of the afternoon as the score fell to 215-5 after 77 overs.
At that stage, Yorkshire were 39 runs short of the follow-on target, though that was never realistically a consideration.
Former Derbyshire all-rounder Matt Critchley had a hand in both wickets.
Revis had been run out after clipping a ball to mid-wicket, where Critchley dived, stopped it and threw it to wicketkeeper Adam Rossington, who whipped off the bails with the batter short of his ground.
Root was then bowled by a googly from the leg-spinner, which looked as if it clipped the leg stump via an inside edge. He had earlier reached his fifty off 88 balls with six boundaries.
Things looked ominous for Essex from the moment Brook absolutely nailed a slog sweep off Harmer over square-leg for six to get off the mark.
He then raced along to his fifty off 48 balls, by which stage the visitors were 315-5 after 95 overs.
Twenty runs came off an over from off colour Australian overseas seamer Mark Steketee as Yorkshire whizzed past 300 in the sixth-wicket partnership with Malan.
Brook hit the majority of his runs square on the off-side, while Malan drove and pulled handsomely on the way to his latest half-century off 92 balls.
Brook pulled Critchley for six to reach his century off 101 balls, taking Yorkshire, who claimed four batting bonus points, into the lead.
Brook and Malan have now posted successive double hundred stands after one against Kent at Headingley last week.