Moeen Ali starred with bat and then ball during day three at Scarborough as Worcestershire head towards a Specsavers County Championship victory over Yorkshire.
The White Rose have significant work to do if they are to avoid their fourth defeat in nine this season having started their second innings 356 runs behind shortly before tea. They reached close at 140-6 from 52 overs.
England all-rounder Moeen stood out with 219 from 277 balls in his side’s 572-7 declared as they replied to Yorkshire’s first-innings 216.
The visiting captain then struck twice in two overs of off-spin immediately before tea as Yorkshire fell to 41-2 and twice more afterwards, finishing with figures of 4-35 from 18 overs.
Left-handed Moeen and opener Daryl Mitchell completed a second-wicket stand of 294 in 75.3 overs, started during Monday’s second day.
Mitchell was just as impressive for his 178 off 333 balls.
Unfortunately, Worcestershire prevented Yorkshire from claiming a single bowling bonus point. Earlier in the game, they only picked up one batting point.
Worcester’s total was their highest against Yorkshire, breaking a 114-year record after their 456-8 at New Road back in 1904, while Moeen’s score was the highest by a visiting batsman in Championship cricket on this ground.
After playing watchfully through much of Monday’s second day, Moeen was back to his usual free flowing self during the first session and a half of day three as he enhanced his bid to play for England in the fourth Test against India at Southampton next week.
He looks a good bet to replace Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow, who is nursing a fractured finger. Jos Buttler would then deputise behind the stumps.
Moeen reached his 150 off 211 balls and his double off 260 before miscueing Tim Bresnan high to point, where Harry Brook took a catch on the run.
Yorkshire’s home debutant Josh Poysden, the leg-spinner on loan from Warwickshire ahead of a permanent move in the winter, nipped in with three wickets ahead of the declaration, although he was expensive.
Yorkshire started their second innings shortly before tea, and Adam Lyth was trapped lbw by Moeen’s fourth ball as the score fell to 37-1 in the 14th over.
In his next over, the last of the session, he forced Brook to miscue to mid-on as he tried to go over the top – 41-2.
After tea, Kane Williamson (61) continued his first-innings form, twice driving dangerous seamer Dillon Pennington to long-off four four as he moved into the twenties.
Teenager Pennington, however, who took four wickets in the first innings, kept him honest as he beat the bat on a few occasions.
Moeen’s third wicket came in the 28th over of the innings when Gary Ballance pushed forwards and edged to second slip (92-3) before Williamson was dropped at third slip by Tom Fell off Josh Tongue on 34.
Williamson reached second fifty off the match off 72 balls, by which time Tom Kohler-Cadmore had fallen lbw offering no shot at Moeen – 116-4 in the 38th.
Unfortunately, Williamson and Bresnan then fell late on to loose shots against South Africa left-arm quick Wayne Parnell, caught behind uppercutting and caught at second slip flashing at a wide one, as the score slipped to 138-6 in the 49th.