Yorkshire and Hampshire had to settle for a draw at the Rose Bowl after early morning rain ruined what could have been a dramatic final day.
Resuming with a 216 run second-innings lead the Tykes were in control of the match until 16 overs were lost in Southampton due to rain.
It meant declaring with a big enough lead and then bowling the hosts out was not practical, with only 80 overs of play left, and so the day unfortunately turned into a rather tedious stalemate.
Adam Lyth excelled once more though, frustratingly making 98 before being brilliantly caught at first slip by Neil McKenzie off David Balcombe but that was as entertaining as the last day’s play got.
Resuming on 152-1, with a lead of 216, the Tykes batted until just after tea to open up a lead of 356, with McGrath (64), Rudolph (28), and captain Andrew Gale (12) all falling as well as Lyth.
It left Hampshire with a total they were never going to get and the point of declaring at all was to try and overturn a poor over rate which could have seen the Tykes docked points.
With the use of four spinners, Adil Rashid, Joe Sayers, Rudolph and Lyth, the target was easily achieved and the nine points which Yorkshire picked up from this contest means they are back at the top of the Division One table.
Next up is the big one – Lancashire in the Championship which starts on Saturday.
DAY THREE REPORT
Yorkshire will go into the final day against Hampshire with a commanding second-innings lead after a superb all round display at the Rose Bowl.
First it was their bowlers who performed, before Adam Lyth and Anthony McGrath continued their sparkling form with the bat to open up a lead of 216 runs at the close.
Adil Rashid led the bowlers in the morning session as six wickets were taken for the loss of just 179 runs.
After a farcical run out by Rich Pyrah began proceedings to remove James Vince for 24, and then Tino Best dismissed Sean Ervine for 20, the leg spinner struck to remove captain Nic Pothas shortly after lunch with a brilliant caught and bowled to leave the host’s on 262 for six.
The assault on the Hampshire lower order then continued with Pyrah removing Neil McKenzie for 91 and Best picking up a second wicket to dismiss Dominic Cork, who had struck a quick-fire 26.
Then Rashid took his fourth wicket of the innings to remove David Balcombe for 31 and he looked odds on to pick up a first five-wicket haul of the season until Pothas surprisingly declared with Hampshire on 351-9.
It meant that they had just evened the bonus points up at 6-all, but it also gave Yorkshire a 64-run first-innings lead with 45 overs of play still left on day three.
Then the Tykes capitalised with the bat to really put Andrew Gale’s side in command by the close. They were led by Adam Lyth and Anthony McGrath, who put on 116 for the second wicket after Joe Sayers had fallen for 13, and it means that going into the final day it will be up to the Tykes to decide when they will declare to set Hampshire a run-chase.
Lyth will resume day four on 64 not out, after passing 800 runs for the Championship season, with McGrath unbeaten on 60.
DAY TWO REPORT
It is turning into a fascinating contest at the Rose Bowl after a tough day with both bat and ball for Yorkshire against Hampshire. By the close the hosts had closed on 162-3 in Southampton after bowling the Tykes out for 415, meaning they only trail by 253 runs after dominating all three sessions.
First it was their attack that caused Yorkshire problems.
Resuming on 302-3, with captain Andrew Gale on 38 and Anthony McGrath on 55, there was real hope that the Tykes might have been able to reach 500 on another warm and sunny day, but when McGrath fell to James Tomlinson early on, after adding 9 runs to his overnight score, the pendulum began to swing Hampshire’s way.
Gale followed soon after for 54, to give wicket-keeper Nic Pothas the second of four catches on day two, and five in the innings, before a lovely cameo from Adil Rashid looked to have started a fight back from the Tykes.
He helped them reach lunch on 393-6, but when Rich Pyrah was out in the first over of the afternoon session and then Rashid was ousted for 51 shortly after, the writing was on the wall.
In fact the last seven wickets for Yorkshire fell with only 88 runs being added to the total and it meant Gale’s men had to settle for a modest 415 – still a decent total after losing the toss and being asked to bat.
That score looked even better shortly after as well, after the impressive Adil Rashid took two quick wickets to remove Michael Carberry for 19 and ex-Yorkshire player Michael Lumb for 0, to leave the hosts on 49-2.
Then the Hampshire opener Jimmy Adams began to play his shots though and a wonderfully crafted 82 really confirmed their domination of day two.
He was ousted late on by Oliver Hannon-Dalby, to end a 94-run partnership with Neil McKenzie, but the hosts will still fancy their chances of getting close to the Tykes first-innings score when play resumes on Wednesday.
McKenzie will be at the crease, unbeaten on 48, with James Vince on 8. At least Yorkshire know they are leading the bonus point battle in this fascinating contest though – they are four-two ahead.
DAY ONE REPORT
A second successive LV=County Championship century from Adam Lyth has given Yorkshire the advantage after the opening day of their clash with Hampshire at the Rose Bowl. The 22-year-old made 133 on a boiling day on the South Coast as the Tykes closed on 300-3.
It gives them three batting bonus points from the opening days play and from the moment Lyth smashed 16 off the first over, after surprisingly being asked to bat after losing the toss, the signs looked ominous for the Hampshire attack.
The score had soon moved on to 41-0, after just four overs, and by lunch Lyth had moved onto 79 on a day when temperatures reached almost 30 degrees celsius in Southampton.
Along with fellow opener Joe Sayers, who made 49, the two of them soon reached another century partnership for the Tykes first-wicket and after plundering eighteen boundaries Lyth was celebrating his 100 by the mid-way point of the afternoon session.
Unfortunately he fell 32 runs later, finding Sean Ervine at long-on off James Tomlinson, to fall just nine runs short of the career-best he set at Somerset last Monday – but the damage was already done with the score on 195-1.
It did lead to a mini-collapse from Yorkshire, with Sayers departing to Dominic Cork and Jacques Rudolph only making three, but then captain Andrew Gale joined Anthony McGrath at the crease to steady the ship.
By the close they had added 85 runs for the fourth wicket with McGrath unbeaten on 55 and Gale reaching the close on 38.
Andrew Gale is back at the helm after his Lions appearance last week as Yorkshire travel to the Rose Bowl to take on Hampshire.
Yorkshire are without England Test call-ups Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad.
Hampshire welcome back former Yorkshire player Michael Lumb to their side.
Andrew Gale (capt), Adam Lyth, Joe Sayers, Anthony McGrath, Jacques Rudolph, Jonathan Bairstow (wk), Adil Rashid, David Wainwright, Steve Patterson, Tino Best, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Richard Pyrah
Jimmy Adams, Michael Lumb, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, Nic Pothas, Dominic Cork, James Vince, Michael Carberry, Chris Benham, James Tomlinson, Neil McKenzie, Rangana Herath and David Balcombe