Root ton as Yorks push for win
Northamptonshire 253 and 43 for 1 trail Yorkshire 416 (Root 125, Bairstow 68) by 120 runs
Yorkshire secured maximum batting bonus points for the first time in two years as they reached 416 and built up a first innings lead of 163 on the third day against Northamptonshire. The visitors replied with 43 for 1 in 15 overs before bad light ended play in this Division Two match with 10 overs remaining at Headingley.
Rain caused eight overs to be lost before play was able to begin at noon with Yorkshire on 190 for 3 and Joe Root needing only two more runs to complete his first century at Headingley. He did not have long to wait, steering his third ball from Lee Daggett to the third man boundary to reach the milestone in 137 deliveries. It contained 11 fours.
Jonny Bairstow, 36 overnight, raised the century stand in the same over and his half-century followed from 92 balls with eight boundaries.
It was another impressive display from Root but when he had reached 125 he fell to a splendid catch by wicketkeeper David Murphy, who took a sharply rising ball stood up to the stumps to Andrew Hall. The fourth wicket pair had put on 147 in 31 overs but the departure of Root slowed down Yorkshire's progress and they lost their momentum in the afternoon session.
Neither Bairstow nor new batsman Gary Ballance was able to force the pace and the usually brisk Ballance took 17 balls to get off the mark. In 10 overs together the pair scraped only 25 runs and Bairstow then lost his off-stump to Hall after making 68 from 137 balls, with 10 fours.
The tempo remained flat even with the arrival of Anthony McGrath, who took 14 balls to get off the mark and Yorkshire were unable to take full advantage of Hall having to hobble off the field with a strain one ball into a new over.
After McGrath and Ballance had scored 32 together in 11 overs, Ballance bobbed up a bat and pad catch off James Middlebrook to Alex Wakely at short leg to leave Yorkshire on 300 for 6 and it took Azeem Rafiq to bring some much needed impetus to the innings. He went on the attack with a series of perfectly timed strokes and, with McGrath also showing greater fluency, Yorkshire were able to go in to tea on 361 for 6 in 92 overs.
But early in the evening session, Rafiq's spree was ended by Daggett, the batsman flashing outside off-stump to be caught by Murphy for 37 from 44 balls with six fours.
Two runs later, McGrath played across the line to a full-length ball from David Willey and was lbw for 47 and when Ryan Sidebottom steered Daggett to Stephen Peters at first slip in the 100th over a further 21 were still required for the fifth batting bonus point.
They got there in the 104th over thanks to some clean straight drives by Mitchell Starc, and the last wicket pair added a useful 37 before Steve Patterson was bowled round his legs by Middlebrook.
Coming on as first change, Starc pinned Middlebrook lbw with his fourth ball but with the light deteriorating he could be risked for only one over before giving way to Rafiq. Peters (20) and Kyle Coetzer (12) were the not out batsmen when bad light ended play with the visitors still needing to do a lot of work to deny Yorkshire a third win of the season.