George Hill believes how Yorkshire handle the opening stages of day three tomorrow will hold the key to their chances of a revival against league leaders Surrey at the Micky Stewart Oval.
Yorkshire were forced to follow-on 154 behind shortly after tea on day two, but they closed on 89-2 second time around.
The day started with Surrey, 292-6 overnight, bowled out for 333 in their first innings before the visitors replied with a disappointing 179.
At that point, they were on the ropes, but an encouraging end to the day has given them hope of turning things around against the LV= Insurance County Championship leaders.
Hill had a useful personal day with two wickets in the morning followed by scores of 28 and 36.
“The wicket’s got a little bit better, the ball’s got a bit softer and they’ve been in the field twice now,” said Hill.
“The first hour tomorrow will be quite big.
“If we can get through that and calm everything down, you never know. We’ve got the batters in the sheds to get back into this game – Lythy and Tom have been in good form.
“We’ve just got to keep grafting, as we’ve done all year. We’ve fought until the end, and we need to do that again.
“They’ve got an extremely good attack. It’s one of the best I’ve faced all year. Credit to them. But hopefully they have a few tired bodies around.”
This penultimate round fixture has been played out in bowler-friendly conditions, with swing and seam evident.
“When the lights were on this morning, it was swinging around and nipping and kissing off the surface nicely. Then, as the ball got softer, it felt like it wasn’t doing as much,” was Hill’s assessment.
On his own contributions, he admitted they were tinged with frustration.
“It’s been a theme for me all season that I’ve got a lot of twenties and thirties,” he said. “I don’t know how many it is, but it’s been too many.
“It’s better than nought, but it’s still frustrating after doing all the hard work.”
The all-rounder, 21, has now taken 12 wickets in his last two-and-a-half Championship games with his skilful seamers after recovering from a broken toe suffered in the return fixture at Scarborough in July.
He added: “It’s definitely something I want to improve on going forwards.
“My bowling has given me a lot of confidence in the last three games, to change my mindset from being a fill-in bowler who comes on before lunch and tea to being someone who is almost 50/50 in terms of my contributions to the team.
“To be a genuine fourth seamer is the aim.”