The balance in the Championship race appeared to be tipping towards Yorkshire after the First Division leaders took a firm grip on the Roses match at Old Trafford and nearest pursuers Nottinghamshire struggled to keep themselves in contention against Durham at Chester-le-Street.
Yorkshire’s batsman of the year Adam Lyth wrote himself into Roses history with a magnificent career-best 251 before Andrew Gale declared with a lead of 332 against relegation-threatened Lancashire.
Lyth’s third double hundred – his second this season – was the highest score made by a Yorkshire batsman in a Roses match on enemy soil, beating Len Hutton’s 201 at Old Trafford in 1949. The left-hander, who has overtaken Worcestershire’s Daryl Mitchell as the country’s leading run-scorer, was out just one run short of equalling Darren Lehmann’s 252 at Headingley in 2001, which remains the best by a Yorkshire player in the fixture, home or away.
Adil Rashid, with whom Lyth shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 296 finished unbeaten on 159 and the visitors’ total of 610-6 declared surpassed a Yorkshire record for these matches that had stood at 590 since 1887.
Lancashire gave themselves a chance of escaping with a draw by reaching 144 for 2 at the close but need 188 more in order to make Yorkshire bat again.
Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire were left needing to set a record themselves if they were to pull off a win against Durham, whose captain, Paul Collingwood, scored 100 in a second-innings total of 309. That left Chris Read’s side needing to score 375 to secure the win that would keep the pressure on Yorkshire when the two title contenders meet at Trent Bridge next week.
The highest fourth-innings score to win a match at Chester-le-Street is 339, which Yorkshire made to triumph there last summer. Nottinghamshire closed on 197 for 4 with Riki Wessels on 77 not out.
Third-placed Warwickshire look to be heading for an unwanted draw in a rain-affected match against Middlesex at Lord’s.
In the Second Division, a double hundred from captain Jimmy Adams gave promotion-seeking Hampshire a chance to push for a win against Leicestershire that would stretch the gap between themselves and third-placed Surrey.