Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale scored an unbeaten century during today’s third day of their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Scarborough to put his side on course for victory.
Gale posted his second ton of 2014, a season’s best 126 not out, to help the hosts close on 400-5 from 109 overs of their second innings, which amounts to a lead of 421.
Alex Lees, Kane Williamson and Jack Leaning, who made 76, also added half-centuries to put the Division One title chasers in a strong position having started the day at 29-1, leading by 50.
Second-wicket pair Lees and Williamson shared 132 inside 40 overs through the morning, having come together late on day two.
Fifth-wicket pair Gale and Leaning, who joined one another at the crease before tea, then batted through until the closing stages of the day to share 182 inside 45 overs.
They scored the lion’s share of 75 runs in the last ten overs, including three straight sixes for 20-year-old Leaning in four balls faced against Steven Finn, Ollie Rayner and Dawid Malan.
There was a thought that the duo could have opened their shoulders a bit earlier to allow them to start bowling before close tonight but Gale said the second new ball coming so quickly after tea meant they could not go out all guns blazing then.
"The new ball was due three overs after tea,” he said. “If we'd have gone too hard at the new ball and lost three wickets, then you're fighting the game back and can't accelerate.
“The key was to get me and Jack a good partnership. The way we accelerated at the end, we scored at a good click and set the game up nicely. I thought we played the situation perfectly.”
Gale, who offered a tough one-handed chance to Chris Rogers at point on 40, would not be drawn on whether he will declare before the start of play tomorrow or bat on for a few overs. He is expected to do the former.