By Gary Watton
September 6 2016
The champions closed the gap on leaders Middlesex to a solitary point, courtesy of a dominant display against a mediocre Durham. Of course the home team's cause was assisted no end when the away team asked them to bat first. Other than suffering the early loss of Lyth, the hosts' top order built the foundation for this crushing win, and the superiority was reinforced when Durham were twice bowled out, without troubling the scorer excessively. All that remains now is the small matter of two matches against the other two teams in the top three. A win and a draw against Somerset and Middlesex just might be enough to secure a hat trick of County Championships.
YORKSHIRE versus Durham; in Leeds; Tuesday the sixth to Friday the ninth of September 2016; Durham elected to bowl first.
YORKSHIRE first innings: 460 (Lees 132, Ballance 71, Lehmann 58; McCarthy 3-103)
Durham first innings: 265 (Borthwick 53; Brooks 4-76)
YORKSHIRE second innings: 225 for two declared (Lyth 114*, Lees 88)
Durham second innings: 192 (Pringle 57*; Sidebottom 4-34, Brooks 3-55)
YORKSHIRE won by 228 runs. YORKSHIRE 23 points, Durham five points.
Lyth - Four catches were a more than useful contribution. Better still, Adam compiled an excellent three-hour 114, sharing in a stand of 185 with Alex Lees.
Lees - Hot and cold Alex must have been taking performance enhancing drugs in the last week. His batting contributions were substantial. Full marks to young Lees.
Ballance - Gary accumulated ninety-one runs that leave him just short of a season's batting average of forty. He also took a catch in their second innings.
Gale - Seventeen from 29 balls is about what we come to expect from Gale nowadays. He's a fading force. We need a new captain for next year's Championship.
Lehmann - Young Jake scored 58 runs off ninety-one balls in his only stint at the crease to continue his fine progress over the last few weeks.
Bresnan - Brezza's innings of twenty-two was painfully accumulated, but he did at least weigh in with his share of four wickets, costing ninety-three runs.
Hodd - Hoddy chipped in with 31 runs from seventy deliveries in our first innings and he also took a couple of catches in each innings.
Rafiq - Azeem seems unable to take any wickets and is a pale imitation of Rashid. He did however smack 45 runs off forty-nine balls in our first innings runs spree.
Patterson - Steve bowled 31 overs, taking three wickets, costing 76 runs which was a satisfactory return. He remains a key component of a lethal seam attack.
Brooks - The headband warrior is unstoppable at present. He bagged a further seven wickets and also amassed 36 runs in the Tykes' first innings.
Sidebottom - Six wickets, costing a mere eighty-nine runs was yet another superb return for Ryan. Is he really in the twilight of his illustrious career?
BATSMAN CHARTS (minimum of one hundred runs)
Bairstow: average - 88.83; 533 runs; two hundreds
Root: average - 80; 240 runs; one hundred
Lehmann: average - 47.4; 237 runs; three fifties
Plunkett: average - 45.75; 366 runs; one hundred, two fifties
Lees: average - 45.44; 1136 runs; three hundreds, seven fifties
Lyth: average - 42.25; 1014 runs;
Brooks: average - 40.5; 243 runs
BEST BOWLERS (minimum of ten wickets)
Sidebottom: average - 21.24; 25 wickets
Brooks: average - 24.62; fifty-two wickets
Patterson: average - 27.54; 39 wickets
Bresnan: average - 27.82; 28 wickets
Rashid: average - 33.9; 29 wickets