Yorkshire v Sussex, North Marine Road, 3rd day August 17, 2014

Yorkshire cash in on Williamson fortune

Sussex 368 and 98 for 4 (Wright 56*, Sidebottom 2-8) trail Yorkshire 493 (Williamson 189, Bresnan 61, Wells 3-38) by 27 runs

Yorkshire looked back on last year's Scarborough matches with mixed feelings after the defeat against Durham here proved so influential in the outcome of the title race but that memory might be put to bed if they can finish off Sussex from a position they will be anxious not to waste.

To do so would consolidate their lead in the County Championship with four matches remaining and take them a significant stride towards the prize if Nottinghamshire somehow let their chance slip at Northampton.

A brisk half-century from Luke Wright has probably taken an innings victory out of the list of possibilities but with four wickets lost Sussex will need to bat with a good deal of resolve to deny Yorkshire any kind of win.

Yorkshire have reaped full value for the moment of good fortune they enjoyed on Saturday when Kane Williamson was allowed to continue his innings on 16 after Sussex claimed they had him caught at second slip. Williamson went on to make his first century for the county in first-class games at the 20th attempt and almost turned it into a double.

He had made 189 when an eight-hour innings finally ended when he was deceived by a flighted ball from Luke Wells, the occasional legspinner in Sussex's bowling pack, and gave a return catch.

Williamson confirmed last night that he had accepted the fielder's word after querying the catch claimed by James Tredwell at second slip and was on his way back to the pavilion before he realised that umpires Graham Lloyd and Peter Hartley could not give an unequivocal verdict on whether the ball carried.

"I asked the fielder and accepted his word but the umpires got together and decided they could not give it out," Williamson said.

It was a moment that Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire might have more cause to regret than Sussex in the long run, aggrieved though Sussex felt at the time. When Williamson raised his bat to acknowledge the applause of the Festival crowd, there was a definite hint of sarcasm as one or two Sussex fielders joined in.

Yorkshire were clearly determined not to allow their opportunity to go to waste. They were 55 for 2 when the catch was claimed and 57 for 3 soon afterwards. Overnight, they were still 110 behind, even after Jonny Bairstow's excellent 77.

A poor first hour for Yorkshire yesterday might have brought memories of Durham's win back into the forefront of their minds but instead Adil Rashid was the only casualty of the morning.

Indeed, they did not lose another wicket against Sussex's inexperienced attack until Wells, whose 3 for 38 was a career best, dismissed Tim Bresnan, also via a return catch, moments before tea. Bresnan's 61 contributed to a partnership with Williamson that added 157, a record for Yorkshire's seventh wicket against Sussex.

As a timely bonus, they scored quickly enough to take maximum batting points for Yorkshire. Williamson was superb, barely making another error before his dismissal.

By this point Yorkshire had seized a clear advantage but there was more to come as Jack Brooks and Ryan Sidebottom took advantage of Sussex's weary bowling to push the total to 493.

Tails up, and bowling with good control despite a fierce crosswind, Yorkshire's new ball pair claimed three wickets in the opening 10 overs of Sussex's second innings.

Sidebottom beat a fulsome drive by Wells and had first-innings centurion Ed Joyce leg before; Brooks had Chris Nash caught behind two balls after being dropped at first slip. When Bresnan got in on the act as Craig Cachopa edged to second slip, Sussex were 48 for 4.

Wright played with his customary freedom, scoring 56 from only 60 balls, but will need to graft on the final day if there is to be any denying Yorkshire.