Yorkshire and Worcestershire are keen to finish the season with a bang at Headingley tomorrow.
That was the message from both camps as day three came to a murky close, bad light forcing the loss of 32 overs beyond 4.20pm following Yorkshire’s inventive first-innings declaration at tea with a deficit of 127.
In reply to 389, Yorkshire avoided the follow-on and declared on 262-6. They then restricted Worcestershire to 18-2 at close, a visiting lead of 145.
Worcestershire have nothing to play for. They are already promoted. Yorkshire could lift themselves off bottom spot. A draw or a win could do the trick. A loss wouldn’t.
Both Yorkshire captain Shan Masood and Worcestershire seamer Joe Leach spoke at close.
The latter said: “The plan when Yorkshire pulled out was to try and make a game of it tomorrow. The light impacted that, and we’ll have to see what the weather does overnight.
“Both teams would like to play a game of cricket and put on a show for the last day of the year.”
In explaining the declaration, Masood said: “The weather’s not been kind to us, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record.
“We thought that when we were batting, we would try and take the game on and score at a high rate to get as close to them as possible and, somewhere after the follow-on, declare.
“We still want to play a competitive game. We’ve given them a competitive lead, and we’re trying to get them out. Unfortunately bad light stopped play and we lost more overs.
“We made a strong start with the ball, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
“We’ll go in with the intention of trying to knock them over. If it doesn’t happen and they give us something, we’ll try and chase it. Whatever it is we’ll assess it and let common sense take over.
If Yorkshire can usurp Gloucestershire, who are set to lose at Sussex – 113-5 chasing 513, to finish second bottom it would put a touch of shine on a frustrating season.
That has seen Yorkshire lose approximately 1,900 overs to the weather in the Championship and have to battle against a 48-point deduction.
One thing is not in doubt. They have played far better than their lowly position suggests.
And because of that, skipper Masood said: “I’m very confident ahead of next year.
“During a break in play, I happened to look at a graphic of the table without our (48) points deduction. When I saw that, reality hit me that it could have been a very different season. But what’s happened has happened.
“If we play cricket like we have this season consistently enough over 14 games next season, then I have no doubts that we will do well.
“There are lot of key indicators in a team that drive you towards promotion.
“The most compelling ones are guys getting runs. We’ve had two guys close to 1,000 runs – Lyth and Bean – and everyone else chipping in. We’ve had a few hundreds from every position and a lot of fifties. Those are good signs.
“The other thing is we’ve been good at getting 10 wickets. The next thing is how do we get 20 wickets? Different tactics, changes in personnel in the eleven. They will be things which are discussed over the winter.
“Those will be the key things going into next year.”