MATCH CENTRE 

Yorkshire are closing in on a come from behind LV= Insurance County Championship victory over Sussex at Hove after a stunning third day display with bat and ball. 

Sussex held sway at the halfway point of this Division Two fixture at the 1st Central County Ground, but Yorkshire battled back courtesy of a series of significant contributions to leave themselves within sight of pursuing a target of 201, which was set during the latter stages of the afternoon. 

Yorkshire ended the day on 138-3 from 40 overs, needing 63 more at the start of day four. 

Ben Coad, Dom Bess, Adam Lyth and Shai Hope all played key roles, but others were important too as Yorkshire enjoyed arguably their best of this embryonic season despite two dominant days at the start of the Leicestershire game a fortnight ago.

Lyth will begin day four on 69 and Hope 53.

Day three started with Coad clattering a crucial 45 off 32 balls from number 11, including five sixes, as he dominated a 10th-wicket partnership of 59 with Mickey Edwards, who finished with 19 not out.

Yorkshire began the day on 216-7 in their first-innings reply to 361 and fell to 239-9 following the departures of Jordan Thompson and Matthew Fisher.

But Coad and Edwards started the comeback mission in thrilling fashion. 

They hit six sixes between them, including five in an eight-ball spell at the end of the innings off the spin of Jack Carson and seam of Henry Crocombe.

Coad targeted wide long-on and straight, with 38 runs coming in what proved to be the last two overs of the innings, culminating in Yorkshire’s new ball seamer being bowled by Carson’s off-spin – his fifth wicket of the innings.

To get the ball back in their hands with a deficit of only 63 when something much more substantial had looked likely would have been a huge boost to the visiting side.

And, despite a 41-run opening partnership inside 11 overs between Ali Orr and Tom Haines, Yorkshire capitalised on the momentum they had created on a sunny South Coast morning.

Coad had a hand – literally – in the breakthrough when he deflected a Haines drive onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end, where Orr was found short of his ground and run out. 

Incredibly, Orr has now been run out backing up in each of Sussex’s last three games dating back to the end of last season.

Later in the 11th over, Coad trapped Tom Alsop lbw for a golden duck – 42-2.

Sussex started the afternoon on 49-2, leading by 112, and in a flash they were in deep trouble on a pitch still good for batting without being a featherbed.

Thompson set the wheels in motion by getting two wickets in as many overs – Haines caught behind and, for the second time in the match, Cheteshwar Pujara (13) lbw. 

That gave the all-rounder his 100th career wicket in the Championship and left Sussex at 66-4 in the 19th over.

In the next, without further addition, Bess trapped Tom Clark lbw before a 39-run stand between Fynn Hudson-Prentice and Oli Carter steadied Sussex’s ship.

Thankfully, not for long.

Fisher returned to get Hudson-Prentice lbw for an innings-high 30 and Nathan McAndrew the same way – again in successive overs – as the score fell to 107-7 in the 33rd, a home lead of 170.

Bess, wheeling away from the Sea End of this ground, then trapped fellow off-spinner Carson lbw before Edwards had England Test seamer Ollie Robinson caught at slip by captain Lyth. The Anglo-Australian deserved his first wicket on day one of this fixture, but now was a decent time for it to arrive.

Bess then had Carter lbw sweeping to wrap up the innings on the stroke of tea at a venue where he claimed a match-winning six-for in 2021. While he only took half as many wickets here, his contribution was just as significant.

However, wickets continued to fall as Sussex hit back to cheer their supporters.

Inside 13 overs, Yorkshire had slipped to 39-3, losing left-handed trio Fin Bean, Saud Shakeel and Dawid Malan cheaply.

Bean lost his middle stump to Australian seamer McAndrew before international duo Shakeel and Malan fell to the seam of Hudson-Prentice. Shakeel was caught at second slip and Malan caught behind down the leg-side.

All the while, skipper Lyth provided a calming presence at the crease.

And so it proved as he and Shai Hope, in his last game before returning to the West Indies, eased nerves.

Though, in chipping away at the runs, there was one major alarm with the Bajan overseas wicketkeeper batter on nine.

After leaving a delivery from Henry Crocombe, Hope immediately tapped his bat in the crease and then left it to do some gardening down the pitch. Sussex gloveman Carter threw the stumps down and appealed to square-leg umpire Neil Pratt, who immediately signalled not out.

But Sussex continued their appeals, and Pratt deliberated with colleague Rob White before confirming his initial decision.

Yorkshire reached 100-3 in the 29th over, with Lyth and Hope having been calm.

But from there, they upped the ante a touch – maybe in a bid to seal a three-day win and take the threat of rain tomorrow out of the equation.

Lyth reached his fifty off 81 balls and when Hope followed him to the same milestone shortly afterwards off 73, the visitors were 125-3 in the 35th over.

Bad light was soon a factor, but Yorkshire’s day could hardly have been brighter.

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