Yorkshire keep title race alive with five-wicket win
Yorkshire 209 for 5 and 264 beat Nottinghamshire 59 and 413
Yorkshire put themselves right back into the race for the County Championship title with a deserved five-wicket victory over leaders Nottinghamshire. After bowling the hosts out for 413 in their second innings, with Ajmal Shahzad picking up four wickets to take his match haul to eight for 121, Yorkshire raced to their victory target of 209 inside 43 overs thanks to a sparkling unbeaten 63 from Jonathan Bairstow.
There was a brief scare when they lost their top four in the space of six overs, but Bairstow put on 97 in 15 overs for the fifth wicket with Gerard Brophy (41), before taking a single to square leg to complete the win. The victory meant Yorkshire climbed to within seven points of Notts going into the final round of matches.
Notts began the day 152 ahead on 357 for 6, realistically needing another 100 runs to stand a chance of an unlikely win after being bowled out for just 59 in their first innings. Nightwatchman Darren Pattinson advanced the score to 373 before misjudging the line of a delivery from Steven Patterson to be plumb lbw shouldering arms for 27, and Notts then saw the last three wickets fall in 12 balls.
Steven Mullaney was bowled by Patterson with one that kept low, skipper Chris Read castled for 47 by an offcutter from Shahzad and last man Luke Fletcher deceived by a slower ball from the England seamer to also be bowled. Notts desperately needed early wickets to put any pressure on the visitors but instead openers Adam Lyth and Jacques Rudolph put on 65 in the 12 overs before lunch to deflate the hopes of the home fans.
Pattinson briefly provided some inspiration either side of a half-hour rain break, Rudolph edging to gully and Anthony McGrath gloving a vicious throat ball to Read behind the stumps. The Australian quick then had Lyth caught at first slip for three wickets in three consecutive overs and when Andre Adams bowled Andrew Gale through the gate, Notts again had a sniff.
But Bairstow and Brophy took advantage of the attacking field to charge towards the finish, Brophy falling with 17 needed to an edge to slip off Adams, before Bairstow finished things off in the company of Adil Rashid. Notts now travel to Old Trafford knowing a 22-point victory will guarantee them the title, having gained more wins over the season than either of their rivals, while Yorkshire must take maximum points from their home tie with Kent and rely on both Notts and Somerset dropping points.