Adam Lyth completed a superb 153 during the third day against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge to help give Yorkshire hope of claiming a final week victory in the LV= Insurance County Championship.
The experienced left-handed opener’s third four-day century of the season was his highest score in this competition since July 2016 when he posted 202 against Surrey in a draw at the Oval.
Yorkshire enjoyed a highly encouraging day three having been bowled out for 73 in their first-innings reply to Notts’ 223 on day two, eventually setting Notts 174 to win inside the final hour of play.
Lyth hit 20 fours in 381 balls, batting for nearly five-and-a-half hours from yesterday afternoon, as he underpinned his side’s 396 all out.
Notts then closed the day on 42-1 from 11 overs, needing 132 more.
Both of Lyth’s previous Championship hundreds this season came in the opening two matches of the campaign (Glamorgan and Kent) and all of them now in the second innings of games.
Pitch conditions have eased from the first half of this Division One fixture when wickets fell regularly. But the fortitude shown by a White Rose side smarting from that failure was impressive.
Unfortunately, Yorkshire’s hope of finishing second in the table for Bob Willis Trophy final qualification was ended during the morning by a bonus point secured by Warwickshire in their game against Somerset.
Even with a victory here, Ben Coad and company would be unable to advance to Lord’s next week to face the county champions, either Lancashire or Warwickshire.
A handful of Lyth’s boundaries were scored behind the wicket, including one early edge off Luke Fletcher, the country’s leading Championship wicket-taker this summer with 66, flying wide of the slips to the third-man fence.
But he looked in very little trouble during a day in which he shared half-centuries for the fifth and sixth wickets with Harry Brook (42) and Jordan Thompson (31).
Matthew Revis also hit an eye-catching 34 to boost the total, adding 28 for the last wicket with captain Coad.
Nottinghamshire can still qualify for the Bob Willis final by finishing second. They must win here and hope Warwickshire fail to beat Somerset at Edgbaston.
In fact, their hopes of winning the title were still alive as Lancashire chased 196 to beat Hampshire by one wicket in a thriller at Liverpool. Had that game finished in a tie, they could have nipped ahead of those two and the Bears with victory here.
Yorkshire lost only Will Fraine lbw to Brett Hutton for three during the morning session, which they started on 169-3 with a deficit of 54.
Brook hit four boundaries off Fletcher, all driven, in the 80th over of the innings – the first with the new ball – to take Yorkshire into the lead at 230-4.
He also hit Hutton for three fours in another over, helping the score to 252-4 at lunch, a lead of 29.
By that time, Lyth had reached his third century of the summer off 230 balls, driving and working through mid-wicket and mid-on particularly well.
Brook and then Thompson fell during an afternoon session which saw the visitors advance to tea at 341-6, leading by 118.
Brook was the first to fall when he edged South African seamer Dane Paterson to first slip (261-5 in the 92nd over).
Thompson later edged Steven Mullaney’s medium pace to second slip inside the final three overs of the afternoon, leaving the score at 335-6 in the 122nd – a lead of 112.
Lyth was 147 not out at tea and brought up his 150 with a lovely straight drive off Evison for four. It was his 20th boundary in 371 balls.
Unfortunately, he only faced 10 more balls, feathering Evison behind – 347-7 in the 127th and the lead at 124.
Last night, coach Andrew Gale admitted Lyth would have been left out of this game had Gary Ballance not reported illness before the start of this match.
In April’s Championship fixtures, he posted scores of 52, 115 not out, 97, 116, 42 and 66. Since then, he had reached 30 twice before this innings.
Dom Bess and Harry Duke were then trapped lbw in the space of four overs by Hutton, who was getting the ball to swing. At 368-9 after 136, Yorkshire’s lead was up to 145.
Like Brook had earlier in the day, combative Revis hit three fours in one over from Hutton to push the target into tricky territory for Notts.
Coad claimed the only Notts wicket to fall before close, getting England opener Haseeb Hameed caught at second slip by Lyth – 9-1 in the third.
But Bens Slater and Duckett positively saw their side through to close and will begin day four on 15 and 23.