Yorkshire 345 & 191-2 Lancashire 441: Lancashire's title hopes hit by McGrath

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The Independent Online

If this Roses match is to have a lasting significance beyond Luke Sutton bagging a line in the Lancashire record books it will probably depend on whether Yorkshire can score quickly enough this morning to make a meaningful declaration. With an overnight lead of only 95 they will need to go some.

Lancashire might be ready to settle for a draw given that the chance to put clear daylight between themselves and their title rivals has probably slipped away. That appeared to rest not only on adding meaningfully to Wednesday's lead of 14 but also on making rapid inroads into Yorkshire's second innings.

Thanks in the main to Sutton and Kyle Hogg, who shared a seventh-wicket partnership worth 109, the first part of that objective was met. By the time Lancashire's progress had been halted, the advantage had grown to a useful 96.

If their bowlers had then managed to inflict rapid damage on Yorkshire's top order, Lancashire might have anticipated a fourth-innings target of their own making. However, although Hogg struck in only his second over as Joe Sayers edged to first slip, it was the combination of Anthony McGrath and Craig White who took charge, pushing the home side into retreat.

Given that Yorkshire's need for a win to take them out of the relegation places is assuming growing urgency, the timing of any declaration will be critical. Only if Lancashire are given sufficient incentive will they risk many mistakes.

McGrath went on to register his fourth century before Oliver Newby made Lancashire's second breakthrough.

Though Deon Kruis took five wickets in Lancashire's first innings there was not much in Jason Gillespie's performance to suggest Lancashire might be bowled out in a couple of sessions, which will be of concern to Yorkshire's supporters.

The batsman none of them could dislodge yesterday was Sutton, whose unbeaten 151 was not only a personal best but the highest first-class score recorded by a Lancashire wicketkeeper, overtaking Farokh Engineer's 141 against Derbyshire in 1971.

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