Joe Root’s superb 147, first Roses century, underpinned an encouraging day three batting display as Yorkshire’s chances of a draw against Lancashire at Headingley were increased.
Root’s six previous career LV= Insurance County Championship innings in this fixture had yielded a top score of only 22.
In fact, his previous best contribution in red ball cricket against Lancashire came at Old Trafford in 2018 when he helped wrap up a victory with bowling figures of 4-5. It was the same game in which he was part of Jordan Clark’s memorable hat-trick also including the scalps of Kane Williamson and Jonny Bairstow.
But here, under the early summer sunshine, the England great was doing what he is known best for – churning out the runs against a visiting attack led by his fellow national treasure Jimmy Anderson. He hit 13 fours in 218 balls.
Yorkshire, replying to Lancashire’s first-innings 566-9, started the day on 53-2 from 22 overs and ended it on 356-8 from 118 overs.
Yorkshire are by no means out of the woods given they are 61 short of the 417 follow-on target. But, despite the late loss of Root to Parkinson, they will be confident of securing their fourth successive draw on a pitch which remains good for batting.
Root shared 66 with Harry Brook, a run-a-ball effort for the fifth wicket either side of lunch as the score advanced from 68-4. Brook looked a million dollars for 41 off only 33 balls.
The former Test captain then united with Yorkshire’s other Harry, wicketkeeper Duke, for the day’s key partnership to slow a Lancashire victory bid which was gathering momentum following pre-lunch strikes for Tom Bailey, Jimmy Anderson and Matt Parkinson.
The pair shared an 154 from late morning to the middle of the evening, advancing the score from 134-5.
Duke, 20, has not had the easiest of rides behind the stumps this summer, but he demonstrated both immense quality and character in posting 40 off 202 balls.
Yorkshire were plunged into early trouble through the loss of three morning wickets.
Bailey had nightwatchman Tom Loten lbw with a looping slower ball and Anderson had opener George Hill (25) caught at mid-wicket off a miscued pull following a number of previous short balls.
That left the score at 68-4 after 30 overs, 18 of the morning.
Brook then drove handsomely down the ground and through the covers during an innings which rivalled his other six this summer for entertainment.
Unfortunately, however, he fell short of a seventh successive fifty, which would have equalled a Yorkshire record in first-class cricket already achieved by Geoffrey Boycott, Darren Lehmann and Anthony McGrath.
He fell when bowled by leg-spinner Parkinson, who he had advanced at and tried to work to leg. And Yorkshire were 134-5 after 41 overs. But then things changed for the better.
Root had clipped his first boundary, off Anderson, to the fine-leg fence before driving the same bowler handsomely through the covers just after lunch. He also swept and reverse swept well against Parkinson.
In backing up last week’s 75 against Essex at Chelmsford, he reached his fifty off 73 balls just before lunch and then his hundred just before tea off 150 – his ninth for Yorkshire and the 37th of his first-class career.
Duke dropped anchor at the other end to play the ideal supporting role against a potent attack.
But his was the first of three late wickets to fall to erode a cushion which looked as if it could be a very significant one heading into day four.
Duke was bowled trying to scoop Parkinson late in the day as the score fell to 288-6 in the 101st over.
Parkinson later had Root caught at slip – trying to work to leg – as the score fell to 331-8 in the 113th. Sandwiched in between, Bailey trapped Dom Bess lbw for 17.
Yorkshire claimed three batting points and will resume tomorrow with Jordan Thompson and Steve Patterson at the crease.