Gary Ballance hailed a superb all-round performance on day two against Hampshire as Yorkshire pressed for victory at the Ageas Bowl.
Ballance’s superb 148, his second Specsavers County Championship century of the season and his third in three matches dating back to last September, was the feature of the county’s 554-7 declared.
He was one of five batsmen to pass 50 as the White Rose racked up their first 500 plus score in Division One cricket since the summer of 2016.
Ballance then played his part in the field when Yorkshire bowled after tea, taking the catch at deep mid-wicket to help Jack Leaning get rid of South African Test overseas Aiden Markram as Hampshire closed on 74-3.
The hosts need to reach 405 to avoid the follow-on.
“We got a very good first-innings score and batted for a long time,” said the in-form left-hander.
“Then taking three wickets this evening, it’s a great effort and puts us in a very strong position.
“It was a big bonus (getting Markram) because he’s a very good player.
“To get him right at the end is brilliant for us.
“It’s a pretty good wicket, but you saw tonight that if you put the ball in good areas for long enough, there is a little bit there. So if we can do that for long enough tomorrow, we’ll create chances.”
Ballance has now scored 1,007 runs in eight first-class matches at the Ageas Bowl for Yorkshire and England, including four hundreds and a double ton.
“It’s a nice place to play,” he said.
“I’ve had a bit of success here before, so to continue that is great.
“To get the team in a strong position, I’m happy.
“We talked about being ruthless – if we get a good start to kick on and get a big score. Everyone’s contributed, and guys look in good form.
“We’ve struggled to get big scores in the last few years, we’ve been inconsistent. But to bat like we have in the last two games, to put a price on our wickets and bat for a long time, really sets us up well for the season.”
He added: “There was maybe a little bit more pace in the pitch today, but it hasn’t altered much. You have to take your chances with the new ball, and that’s what we’ve done.
“It’s been perfect for the bowlers. They’ve had two days rest pretty much, and they ran in hard this evening. To pick up three wickets is a great effort.
“If we can pick a few more tomorrow morning, we have a good chance.”