Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire, Trent Bridge, 3rd day July 24, 2008

Nottinghamshire scent victory

John Ward at Trent Bridge

Yorkshire 161 and 107 for 4 (Lyth 35*) require a further 296 runs to beat Nottinghamshire 213 and 350 (Shafayat 62, Wagh 60)

Matthew Hoggard had several near-misses turned down as Yorkshire headed towards defeat at Trent Bridge © Getty Images

Victory is in sight for Nottinghamshire who, having set Yorkshire an unlikely victory target of 403 after a dour batting effort of their own, reduced them to 107 for 4 by the close of the third day. Yorkshire were making promising progress at one stage after tea, until Mark Ealham broke through their top order to take three wickets in consecutive maiden overs and set them on the slippery slope towards likely defeat on the final day.

The first over of this day was an interesting one, at least. Rana Naved began it, bowled three poor balls and, after Mark Wagh hit the third, a long hop outside off stump, to the boundary, retired limping. Deon Kruis completed the over, and trapped Wagh lbw for 60 with its final delivery.

For an hour Yorkshire relied mostly on spin, seemingly in hope that the second new ball would bring them the major breakthrough. When it came, though, it lasted only three overs before being changed. It did not disturb the batsmen unduly, although Adam Voges, on 24, was dropped low at third slip off Tim Bresnan. Yorkshire's fielding generally was unimpressive, while Nottinghamshire's policy was clearly to accumulate runs, given plenty of time left in the match. Voges fell lbw to Tim Bresnan for 43 just before lunch, and 86 runs were added for the loss of two wickets during the morning session.

Samit Patel, normally a dashing player, reached a restrained 50 in the over after lunch, taking 114 balls over it. Matthew Hoggard now gave the batsmen considerable trouble, having a number of lbw appeals rejected, although his direction was not always consistent. It was Bresnan who finally broke through, as Patel (60) went for the drive and edged a shoulder-high catch to first slip.

Now, it seemed, the home team was finally preparing for a declaration, as Chris Read came in and immediately tried to dominate the bowling. A straight drive for four off Hoggard was particularly impressive, and he raced to 26 from 16 balls before he was deceived by a looping ball from Adil Rashid and sliced a low catch to gully. Soon after this Graeme Swann, who had made a slow start to his innings before gradually opening up, reached his 50 off 68 balls. As Yorkshire tried to slow the game down and posted several boundary fielders, he swept Rashid for six over square leg, but was smartly stumped next ball for 57.

The end was not long in coming now, with Paul Franks and Andre Adams in turn driving over full-length balls from Rashid to be bowled, and finally Ealham (13) drove a catch to long-off, just after he had put his team more than 400 ahead. Rashid finished with 4 for 96, the teams took an early tea, and Yorkshire had four sessions in which to score 403 for victory. This would be the highest total of the match and very unlikely, even though Trent Bridge pitches this season tend to improve for batting as the match progresses.

Yorkshire quickly lost their opener, Joe Sayers, edging a swinging ball from Charlie Shreck to the keeper for 2. After 8.3 overs, the ball was changed. For a while, Chris Taylor and Adam Lyth made batting look easier than at any time in this match thus far, with an impressive partnership of 73 at almost four an over, full of fluent strokes, though not without a couple of narrow escapes. Finally the experienced Ealham put an end to such frivolity, trapping Taylor lbw for 48; 75 for 2.

This proved to be the major turning-point of the innings, as Ealham took another wicket in both his following overs, with the score still stuck on 75. Jacques Rudolph fell without scoring, edging a ball that swung away from him, and Read took a fine catch standing up to the stumps, while Andrew Gale was caught in the slips.

Lyth did not help matters by going totally into his shell against Swann at the other end, and at this stage eight consecutive maiden overs were bowled, four each by Ealham (with his three wickets) and Swann, before Gerard Brophy nudged a ball from Ealham past the slips to the boundary. He did his best to fight back with some welcome aggression, and finished the day with 20. The very talented but inexperienced Lyth has 35, and, barring near-miracles, they can hope for little more than to lose with honour tomorrow.