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Yorkshire gearing up for pivotal day in County Championship title race
Yorkshire face a hugely significant day in their LV= County Championship title challenge tomorrow as they seek another 242 runs to avoid the follow-on against Durham at Scarborough.
Despite a dominant unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 75 between overseas Kane Williamson and York’s Jonny Bairstow to recover the score from 107-3 to 182-3 from 52 overs at close on day two, Durham will be the happier of the two sides at the halfway stage having posted a mammoth 573 in their first innings.
Yorkshire are a long way from safety in good batting conditions, and a second defeat of the season would really open up the title race.
The leg-spin of Scott Borthwick would seem to be Yorkshire’s biggest obstacle because, in claiming the wicket of Phil Jaques just before tea, he was Durham’s most threatening bowler in his 12-over spell.
He was at his most dangerous shortly before and after tea.
The hosts then enjoyed their most dominant period of the day through until close thanks to Williamson’s 76 not out on his home debut and Bairstow’s unbeaten 42.
“It’s a good track, which is taking some spin now,” confirmed New Zealander Williamson. “That’s going to be another challenge, but there’s still no reason why we can’t score runs on there.
“Having the runs on the board against us is obviously a mental task that we have to get round. It hasn’t been a bad start though.”
Durham batsman Michael Richardson became his side’s third centurion in the early stages of the afternoon session, following opener Mark Stoneman and all-rounder Ben Stokes.
It was not far off being four because captain Paul Collingwood had reached 81 before becoming the first wicket of the day when he was trapped lbw by Ryan Sidebottom, who finished with 4-85.
Richardson batted superbly with the tail to reach a maiden ton, which included two sixes over wide long-on off Williamson’s off-spin. The second brought up three figures.
The son of former South Africa wicketkeeper and current ICC chief executive Dave shared 49 for the eighth-wicket with Mark Wood, 84 for the ninth with Jamie Harrison and 26 for the last with Chris Rushworth. He finished with 102.
“Everybody for them really chipped in, which was a good effort,” added Williamson. “I guess now it’s time for our batters to put together a team performance emulating them.”
Yorkshire lost Adam Lyth early in their reply, brilliantly caught at fourth slip by a diving Stokes off Rushworth with the new ball, before Jaques (36) and Williamson steadied the ship with a partnership of 54.
But Jaques fell caught at short-leg to a spitting delivery from Borthwick – only the second ball he had bowled – and then Andrew Gale was trapped lbw by left-armer Harrison just after tea.
Williamson, who recovered well from a debut duck at Trent Bridge last week, and Bairstow batted with great authority for the best part of 26 overs to finish a tough day on a high.
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