All-round star David Willey believes the balance of power lies with Yorkshire ahead of day four against Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley – but only just.

Northants were set a target of 220 at tea and closed on 94-4, needing 126 more to deny Yorkshire a third win from four LV= Insurance County Championship games in 2021.

Willey scored 41 not out from number 10 to help Yorkshire recover from 86-6 in their second innings before lunch to 247. It was the White Rose’s top-score in the innings.

He then claimed one wicket and affected a direct hit run out of Northants captain Ricardo Vasconcelos on 41 – what could prove to be a key intervention.

“I think we’re probably just favourites at the minute,” said Willey, the former Northants man.

“We scrapped well with the bat to get something to bowl at, and there’s still plenty in the pitch. If we can create six chances tomorrow, we’re in with a really good chance.

“It’s hard work with the bat, there’s no denying that. There’s one with your name on.”

On playing against his home county, whom he left for Emerald Headingley ahead of 2016, he said: “Northants will always have a fond place in my heart.

“I grew up there as a kid, made my debut and played a lot of cricket for them.

“But I don’t actually know many of their lads who are playing now. There’s been quite a big turnover of players since I left.

“David Ripley was Academy coach when I first started there. I know Rips well, and I always seem to do alright against them, which he hates!

“But whoever I play against, when I cross the white line, I want to win – whether it’s Northants or anybody else.”

Willey said he had one stump to aim at when throwing to run Vasconcelos out at the non-striker’s end, adding: “He’s a very good player who has scored a lot of runs this year.

“With him out, I’m sure they see it as a much bigger challenge ahead.”

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