Ballance steers Yorkshire towards to safety
Sussex 398 and 126 for 3 v Yorkshire 388
Yorkshire stepped off the pedal after working their way into a promising position on the third day of their County Championship match against Sussex at Scarborough, and a draw now looks like the most probable result.
With centurion Joe Root and Gary Ballance continuing to build on their big stand in the morning, Yorkshire looked well placed to take maximum batting bonus points while building up a useful lead. But they somehow lost their way after 20-year-old Root had been dismissed in controversial circumstances for a sparkling 160, and they were bowled out for 388 to trail by just 10 runs after the first innings.
Ed Joyce and Chris Nash then got Sussex off to a solid start and at stumps they were 126 for 3 with an overall lead of 136. Root was already 111 and Ballance 34 when Yorkshire resumed on 251 for four, and Ballance enjoyed a piece of luck in the first over from Monty Panesar as wicketkeeper Ben Brown was unable to hold on to an edge.
Luke Wells joined Panesar to make it an all-spin attack for a while, but the fifth-wicket pair soon took their stand into three figures before Ballance completed his seventh half-century in the last eight Championship matches. Both batsmen were in the same fluent form they had shown the previous day and Root's 150 came up off 270 balls with 25 fours.
Ten runs and 20 deliveries later, however, he attempted to flick a second consecutive boundary off Wayne Parnell to long leg, but Amjad Khan dashed round the edge and got his hand right hand under the ball. A split second later he threw it away in jubilation while tumbling to the ground and many spectators close to the action felt that he had not held the ball long enough for the catch to be considered under control.
Umpires Trevor Jesty and Nick Cook conferred but were agreed that the catch was legitimate and Root walked slowly off after his marathon stay of six hours and 22 minutes, his stand with Ballance being worth 189.
Suddenly, Yorkshire seemed to lose their momentum and Ballance and Richard Pyrah took Yorkshire in to lunch on 356 for six off 105 overs. Ballance, chasing his maiden Championship century, had reached 87, but he fell to the first ball after the interval, a short one from Parnell which he pulled straight into the hands of James Anyon at deep backward square leg.
It was a disappointing end for the left-hander who had received 191 balls and struck 13 fours and a six. There was another fielding incident when Adil Rashid drover Panesar to deep mid-off where Parnell, running in on the ball, claimed a low catch but this time the umpires ruled he had not taken it cleanly.
It did not matter, however, because two balls later Rashid sliced to Kirk Wernars at point. There was little inclination on Yorkshire's part to end the innings with a flourish and the last three wickets were soon mopped up by Amjad Khan who finished with 4 for 70.
Knowing that a draw would keep them well clear of the relegation zone, Sussex were not prepared to take any undue risks although Joyce soon hit Richard Pyrah for six over mid-wicket and when he reached 29 it gave him 1,000 Championship runs for the season.
Ryan Sidebottom made the breakthrough at 62 by having Joyce caught behind for 42, and Steve Patterson picked up his first wicket of the match at 87 when Nash fell lbw for 32. But Luke Wells and Murray Goodwin continued to keep Yorkshire's attack at bay until late in the day when Wells turned Rashid into Anthony McGrath's hands at leg slip, Anyon coming in as nightwatchman.