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Quick wickets now vital for Yorkshire title hopes
Yorkshire face a tense last day at Hove as they attempt to force the win over Sussex that would boost their hopes of winning the LV= County Championship.
A wet outfield in the morning and bad light in the evening allowed only 42 overs of play on the third day of the Division One match at the County Ground.
Yorkshire were bowled out for 326 during that time in the afternoon session while earning a first-innings lead of 34.
Andrew Gale’s seamers then took two key wickets to leave Sussex on 48-2 at the close, a lead of just 14.
Now white rose supporters will be hoping their side can take the final eight wickets in short order tomorrow morning.
But Yorkshire’s batsmen may be regretting that they did not sell their last six first-innings wickets a little more dearly.
Kane Williamson was the first to go, trapped lbw playing across a ball from James Anyon without adding to his overnight 80 after Yorkshire had resumed on 246-4 in reply to the hosts’ 292.
Nightwatchman Steve Patterson followed nine overs later when he edged Steve Magoffin to Ben Brown behind the stumps for 11.
Gary Ballance threatened to dominate the Sussex attack but when he had reached 19 he attempted a sweep off the slow left-arm bowling of Ashar Zaidi and only edged the ball to Matt Prior running round from slip.
Ballance’s departure was followed eight overs later by that of Adil Rashid, who clipped Zaidi straight to Magoffin at mid-on having made 13.
Ryan Sidebottom was bowled middle stump by Lewis Hatchett next over and Liam Plunkett was the last to go, stumped by Brown off Zaidi for 27 to end the Yorkshire innings. That gave debutant Zaidi figures of 4-57.
Despite having only a slender lead with which to work, Ryan Sidebottom made an immediate breakthrough when he bowled Luke Wells for nought with a swinging delivery.
Then Liam Plunkett had Michael Yardy caught at cover by Phil Jacques for just 15.
That left Sussex on 33-2 but soon after Gale was forced by the conditions to use only his spinners and the umpires decided that the light was too bad for even slow bowling when there were 14 scheduled overs left in the day.
Yorkshire skipper Gale said: “The first session is key tomorrow. If we can get three quick wickets, we’re driving this game.
“It’s been a frustrating week because we’ve been finishing an hour early at 4.30 or 5pm. Effectively we’ve only played two days’ cricket.
Meanwhile, leaders Durham’s hopes of boosting their own title challenge were frustrated by a combination of accurate Derbyshire bowling and bad weather.
Durham closed 41 runs behind on 257-4 in their first innings in a match that looks destined for a draw.