Yorkshire are just five wickets away from the LV County Championship title after Nottinghamshire toiled on day three at Trent Bridge.
The hosts’ captain Chris Read was one of few to put in a shift, hitting 81 not out, but he does not appear to have stopped the visitors in their stride.
Champions in waiting
The White Rose are now set to confirm their status as champions of English cricket tomorrow, to seal what will be their first title in 13 years, though their 31st altogether.
Yorkshire applied pressure excellently, aided largely by impressive captaincy from batsman Joe Root, who is skippering in place of the suspended Andrew Gale. Gale will play no further part in their season following a ban for an altercation with Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince in the recent Roses match.
Yet, that did not seem to bother Root’s troops, as they used the penultimate day to close in on victory.
Brooks tears Notts apart
Having taken four wickets in Notts’ first innings, Jack Brooks once again led the way with a further two, including that of returning England star Alex Hales, who scored 43 off 46 balls to keep his side in the game.
Hales’ stint came after Yorkshire reduced the Outlaws to 9-2, with opener Steven Mullaney falling to the first ball of the innings.
Former Three Lions man Ryan Sidebottom weighed in with two dismissals, though Notts’ captain James Taylor resisted resolutely with an unbeaten half century.
All that meant Notts resumed on 58-4 at the start of play, and with their confidence knocked.
Rikki Wessels fell early for just 10, effectively now leaving just the Notts tailend, which is longer than usual due to a middle order depleted by injuries.
Disappointing for Notts
While Yorkshire have the champagne on ice after dominating Division One for so much of the season, it must be remembered that the disappointment of this game is but a microcosm of Notts’ entire season.
With many tipping their strong squad – consisting of Hales, Samit Patel, Harry Gurney, and the occasional appearance from Stuart Broad – for great things, they will be forced to watch on tomorrow as Yorkshire could potentially even be lifting the trophy by lunchtime.
In truth, it would have been difficult for either them or third-placed Warwickshire to catch Yorkshire in the final two games of the season, so there was perhaps less riding on this for Notts as was first thought.
It signals a double disappointment for the Trent Bridge outfit, days after they were beaten by 83 runs at Durham in the Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final.
Like so many before them, they have struggled against a Yorkshire team that will prove deserved winners of the title.