YORKSHIRE are chasing victory over Durham and a 16-point lead at the top of the LV= County Championship table after an impressive third day’s bowling display at Headingley yesterday.
Bradford’s leg-spinning all-rounder Adil Rashid led the way with 4-73 from 20 overs as the reigning champions, in reply to 426, were forced to follow-on having been bowled out for 231 after tea.
These were the new father Rashid’s best figures at Headingley for four years, and they were complemented by two wickets apiece for Ryan Sidebottom, Tim Bresnan and Steve Patterson.
Durham started their second innings 195 runs in arrears with 26 overs of the day remaining, and they reached close at 59-1 - a deficit of 136. Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick will begin day four on 35 and six respectively.
Andrew Gale’s side will have to produce an equally impressive bowling display today in order to claim their fifth win of the campaign and put daylight between themselves and second-placed Nottinghamshire after eleven matches.
Yorkshire will be five points clear if they have settle for a draw, although Durham captain Paul Collingwood said his side face an uphill battle with the pitch deteriorating significantly.
“It’s getting increasingly harder and harder on that pitch, and it’s not going to be easy,” said the former England man, who made 64 not out in the first innings.
“I’m surprised that they have taken such a punt in such a big game. Hey, hats off, if the pitch inspectors don’t come in and see it as a dangerous pitch. They are on top of the game, so well done to them.
“It's one of those ones where you get one that rears up as you push forward and it hits you in the bicep. It's not a flat wicket. It's going to take a magnificent effort to get away with this.”
Durham resumed yesterday morning on 50-1, and they lost four wickets in the morning, including Michael Richardson caught and bowled by Rashid with the last ball of the session.
Rashid, who missed the last two Championship matches against Sussex and Warwickshire whilst awaiting the birth of a baby boy, claimed three more wickets in the latter stages of the afternoon to stymie a Durham recovery.
Collingwood and Phil Mustard shared 51 for the sixth wicket immediately after lunch to advance the score from 119-5, but Rashid had Mustard caught at short-leg, John Hastings caught at slip and Paul Coughlin caught at long-on to leave the score at 194-8.
Rashid was replaced after bowling only two overs in Durham’s second innings as they advanced to 38-0 after 18.
And it was the part-time off-spin of Adam Lyth which gave Yorkshire the breakthrough as he bowled Keaton Jennings with his fifth ball.
“We'll take that position. We are in the driving seat," said Rashid, who had completely the opposite view on the pitch.
"I thought we bowled exceptionally well on a wicket that wasn't really offering much. As a team, we stuck to our disciplines and got our rewards.
“It was my first time having a bowl in a month or so, especially bowling 20 overs. It was nice to get some overs under my belt, and hopefully I can do the same again.”
Scoreboard: Yorkshire first innings 426 (Lyth 143, Lees 108; Wood 5-87), Durham first innings 231 (Collingwood 64, Jennings 56; Rashid 4-73). Durham second innings 59-1 (Stoneman 35 not out, Jennings 16; Lyth 1-6)