Yorkshire are on course for their fifth LV= County Championship win of the season over Middlesex at Scarborough heading into tomorrow’s final day with a lead of 421 as they chase top spot in Division One.
An unbeaten 126 for Andrew Gale off 180 balls with 13 fours was added to by fifties for Alex Lees, Kane Williamson and Jack Leaning as the hosts advanced their second innings from 29-1 overnight to 400-5 from 109 overs.
Alex Lees posted 67 and Kane Williamson 62, with the pair sharing 132 inside 40 overs for the second wicket through the morning session and into the first over of the afternoon before the latter fell.
Leaning and Gale then shared 182 inside 45 overs for the fifth wicket before Leaning was stumped for 76 off 143 balls, including three fours and as many sixes.
The Lees and Williamson alliance took advantage of a Middlesex attack who bowled a bit too short for the second time in the match. They added 117 runs in 31 overs before the lunch break.
Lees, who lofted Ollie Rayner’s off-spin for six, brought up his fifty off 111 balls before Williamson brought up his off 83.
The New Zealander, however, fell two balls into the afternoon when he was superbly caught one-handed high at first slip by Rayner off Tim Murtagh, who then had Lees smartly caught at second slip low down by Dawid Malan four overs later, leaving the score at 155-3 in the 49th.
Gale and Jonny Bairstow shared 46 for the fourth wicket, including 32 for the latter before he top-edged a pull at Toby Roland-Jones to long-leg with the score on 201 in the 63rd over.
Gale and Leaning saw Yorkshire through to tea to make it 101 runs in 33 overs in the session as the score advanced to 247-4 from 77.
The skipper took a blow on the left thumb from a nasty Steven Finn delivery just after tea, shortly before reaching a 99-ball fifty with three fours.
When Yorkshire’s lead went to 302 at 281-4, there were 24 overs left in the day.
Leaning reached his 130-ball half-century, also with three fours, as Yorkshire took their lead beyond 350 with less than ten overs left.
Just before reaching his hundred, Gale was struck another painful blow on the left elbow by Finn, but it could not stop him celebrating three figures off 162 balls with ten fours, his second of the season.
Both players opened their shoulders in the last five or six overs of the day, with Leaning hitting straight sixes off Finn, Rayner and Malan to take the Yorkshire lead beyond 400.
All his sixes came in the space of four balls, but he was stumped off Malan’s bowling to leave the score at 383-5 in the 107th. Seventy five runs came in the last ten overs of the day.
Kane Williamson, Alex Lees and Jonny Bairstow have all fallen in the afternoon for 62, 67 and 32, although Yorkshire’s second innings has advanced to 247-4 from 77 overs, which amounts to a lead of 268
Williamson and Lees were both caught in the slips off Tim Murtagh before Bairstow top-edged a pull at Toby Roland-Jones to long-leg.
Andrew Gale and Jack Leaning will resume this evening on 42 and 19 respectively.
Half-centurions Alex Lees and Kane Williamson have helped Yorkshire take their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Scarborough by the scruff of the neck during the third morning.
The second-wicket pair have taken the score from 29-1 overnight and 14-1 when they came together last night to 146-1 from 44 overs at lunch, which amounts to an overall lead of 167.
Lees, 66 not out, and Williamson, 62 not out, reached their fifties off 111 and 83 balls respectively.