Yorkshire’s cricketers face a tense last day at Hove as they attempt to force the win over Sussex that would boost their hopes of winning the LV= County Championship.
A wet outfield in the morning and bad light in the evening allowed only 42 overs of play on the third day of the match at the County Ground and, in the afternoon session, Yorkshire were bowled out for 326, earning a first innings lead of 34.
Andrew Gale’s seamers then took two vital wickets to leave Sussex on 48-2 at the close, a lead of only 14, and White Rose supporters will be hoping their side can take the next eight wickets in short order tomorrow.
However, Yorkshire’s batsmen may be regretting that they did not sell their last six first-innings wickets a little more dearly.
Kane Williamson was the first to go, lbw playing across a ball from James Anyon for 80 and nightwatchman Steve Patterson followed nine overs later when he edged Steve Magoffin to Ben Brown behind the stumps for 11.
Gary Ballance threatened to dominate the Sussex attack but, when he had reached 19, he attempted a sweep off the slow left-arm bowling of Ashar Zaidi and only edged the ball to Matt Prior running round from slip.
Ballance’s departure for 19 was followed eight overs later by that of Adil Rashid, who clipped Zaidi straight to Magoffin at mid-on.
Next over Ryan Sidebottom was bowled middle stump by Lewis Hatchett and Liam Plunkett was the last to go, stumped by Brown off Zaidi for 27 to end the Yorkshire innings on 326. That gave debutant Zaidi figures of 4-57.
Despite having only a slender 34-run lead with which to work, Ryan Sidebottom made an immediate breakthrough when he bowled Luke Wells for nought with a swinging delivery and Liam Plunkett then had Michael Yardy caught at cover by Phil Jaques for 15.
That left Sussex on 33-2, but soon after conditions forced Gale to use only his spinners and the umpires decided the light was too bad for even slow bowling when there were still 14 overs left in the day.
“The first session is key tomorrow,” said Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale.
“If we can get three quick wickets, we’re driving this game.
“It’s been a frustrating week because we’ve been finishing an hour early at 4.30pm or 5pm. Effectively we’ve only played two days’ cricket.
“In an ideal world, we’d have liked a lead of 100 to 150 but I didn’t think it was a bad thing when we lost wickets, and as soon as we lost wickets we were always going to play positively and get as many runs as we could.
“Bonus points aren’t going to help us at this time of the year. It’s wins that’ll get us over the line, so we’re going to play attacking cricket and play to win.
“We’ve got one eye on what’s going on with Durham at Derby, but we’ve still got to do the job here.”