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Yorkshire County Cricket Club on the verge of promotion party
YORKSHIRE have taken a giant step towards promotion.
For the first time in 2012 the Tykes are the outright leaders of the second division in the LV=County Championship.
This is after they had a superb day with bat and ball to put themselves into a dominant position against Essex at the mid-way point of their final game of the season.
At the close, they had reached 44-3 in their second innings to lead by 179 runs.
It means Yorkshire are overwhelming favourites to win the match which would guarantee them promotion to division one.
However, this might not even be necessary after results went their way elsewhere on a day which couldn’t have gone much better for the county.
Former leaders Derbyshire closed on 167-5 in their first innings in reply to Hampshire’s total of 272 all out.
Perhaps more importantly, third placed Kent still require 187 runs to avoid an innings defeat to Glamorgan and are on 33-2 in their second innings. If they don’t win that match, then Yorkshire will go up even if they were to lose.
That doesn’t look likely either after the Tykes took control of the game thanks to a professional all round display on day two.
It started and ended with the bat, but in between an outstanding bowling display was the true reason the county are in such a good position.
Having posted 312 all out in their first innings from an overnight total of 284-8, Moin Ashraf and Azeem Rafiq were the stars of the show.
Together, they shared seven wickets as Essex were blown away for only 177 in East Anglia.
Rafiq would finish with 3-65, with Ashraf picking up a season’s best of 4-36.
Ryan ten Doeschate’s fine innings of 62 was the only noteworthy score for the home side, with Steven Patterson also chipping in with two wickets and Ryan Sidebottom picking up the wicket of Adam Wheater for 16.
Essex were eventually dismissed only 14 runs clear of the follow on target, to give Yorkshire an innings lead of 135.
By the close this was increased to a healthy advantage of 179, although the Tykes did lose three wickets before bad light forced an early end to proceedings.
Graham Napier did the damage to take his personal haul to 8-79 for the match, with Joe Root (2), Phil Jaques (6) and captain Andrew Gale (5) the men to go.
Napier’s efforts left Yorkshire on 36-3, before Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance made sure no more damage would be done in the remaining four overs of the day.
Lyth will resume on 26, with Ballance on one when day three gets underway this morning.