Yorkshire stretch title race lead while Lancashire win a thriller

Luke Wright shows again he is more than a one-day specialist

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The Independent Online

Sussex’s Luke Wright reinforced the argument that he is more than a one-day specialist with a superb century here on Monday, his third in first-class cricket this summer, yet Yorkshire completed a win by nine wickets that keeps them ahead of Nottinghamshire in the race for the County Championship.

Their lead over Nottinghamshire is extended, in fact, by one point to six, with Warwickshire a further 15 points behind in third place, having put Somerset effectively out of the race with their win at Taunton. Nottinghamshire kept Yorkshire in their sights with a five-wicket victory over Northamptonshire, who are all but doomed. The title will be won by one of the current top three, with Warwickshire the outsiders.

In an extraordinary finish to the key match at the other end of the table, Lancashire climbed out of the bottom three at the expense of Durham, whom they beat by one wicket with two balls to spare.

Here at Scarborough, Wright batted splendidly, both in his shot selection and his execution. Without the obstacle he put up, Yorkshire might have completed their task more quickly.

As it was, they were kept waiting almost until lunch for their first breakthrough, aided by a dropped catch by Tim Bresnan when Wright’s overnight partner, Steffan Piolet, was on eight, and by a missed shy at the stumps by Ryan Sidebottom, which would have run Wright out on 69.

Having survived that scare, Wright completed his century by driving Adil Rashid firmly through the covers for his 16th boundary but after Piolet, whose 32 in a stand of 127 for the fifth wicket was his best score in the Championship, had edged a ball from Steve Patterson to be caught at third slip, Sussex’s resistance crumbled. Bresnan took the key wicket when Wright pushed forward to be leg before.

Yorkshire knocked off the 106 they needed to win with 18.5 overs to spare, losing only one wicket.

Nottinghamshire, needing 211 to win at the start of the last day at Wantage Road, slipped to 28 for 3, but a sixth hundred of the season from Alex Hales – his third in first-class matches – guided them home.

Warwickshire remained in touch by bowling out Somerset for 188 to win by 215 runs, seamer Recordo Gordon finishing with a career-best 4 for 53 and off-spinner Jeetan Patel taking 4 for 64.

Lancashire tried their hardest to throw it away but just beat Durham with two balls remaining in a relegation thriller at Old Trafford. The hosts needed just 107 to win from 36 overs, but John Hastings (4 for 40) and Ben Stokes (3 for 25) forced Lancashire to collapse to 90 for 9.

However, player of the season Tom Smith steered them across the line with an unbeaten 35 to leave Durham, last year’s champions, in the bottom two, albeit with a game in hand.