Yorkshire 216 (Williamson 80, Pennington 4-53, Barnard 3-32) and 140 for 6 (Williamson 61, Moeen 4-35) trail Worcestershire 572 for 7 dec (Moeen 219, Mitchell 178) lead by 216 runs
Occasionally during this day a match between 22 professional cricketers resembled a school game which is dominated by one prodigiously talented player. It was tempting, albeit mistaken, to overlook Daryl Mitchell's 433-minute 178 and find one's eye caught by the glorious arcs of Moeen Ali's 219, which included four sixes and was completed nearly an hour more quickly than Mitchell's innings.
And even when the pair had guided Worcestershire towards 572 for 7 declared, their county's highest total against Yorkshire, it was Moeen who took four Yorkshire wickets to leave the home side marshed and sinking before the class of Kane Williamson and the stubbornness of Jonny Tattersall tried to get to stumps without mishap.
Even that quest was doomed. Five overs before the close and under a traitorous Yorkshire sun - who thought we would see a full day's play on this mist-haunted evening? - Williamson aimed something of an uppercut at a wide long hop from Wayne Parnell and was caught behind for 61. Two overs later the hapless Tim Bresnan played an execrable flash at the same bowler and was caught at slip. Only the obsequies remain.
Moeen, of course, will stress that his ambitions are nothing more than local. If Worcestershire complete their win it will leave them five points behind their opponents. But he will also know there are likely to be vacancies in the England side for the next Test in Southampton. He cannot do much more to advertise his form than score a double hundred and all but bowl his side home.
As for Yorkshire supporters, most of them will arrive at the final day of this much-beloved festival hoping against bleak reason that their batsmen might conclude a game in which they have been utterly outplayed by at least making Worcestershire fight for their points.
The evidence of this match suggests it will not be so. The morning session on the third day was the seventh on the trot to be won by the visitors, who more or less helped themselves to 169 runs in 34.3 overs. Moeen scored 83 of those runs as he pressed to build a match-winning lead while Yorkshire's spinners twirled 18 of the overs in the hope their side would not be docked their only bonus point. The different objectives reflected the balance of the match with brutal starkness and the two wickets taken by Adam Lyth did nothing to change the game's weather.
Twenty minutes after lunch Moeen was finally dismissed when he skied Bresnan to point. By then, though, he had made his 219 runs off 277 balls and had hit 27 fours and four sixes. It is the highest score by a visiting batsman in a County Championship match at Scarborough and it helped Worcestershire assume complete control of this match in a manner which was once Yorkshire's trademark.
Three more wickets fell after that of Moeen but they represented little more than the price paid for 50 runs in nine overs. When the declaration came it left Yorkshire with a deficit of 356 which, since the county's highest total this season is 350, was something of a burden. Home supporters lashed themselves in and prepared for a rough voyage on the SS Attrition.
It was not long before they encountered rough water. Lyth and Harry Brook faced twelve overs from the quicker bowlers with relative aplomb, but the fourth ball of Moeen's first over had Lyth leg before on the back foot for 17 and the eighth delivery of his spell persuaded Brook to attempt an on-drive which was safely caught above his head by Josh Tongue. It was a foolish risk to take but particularly dumb in the final over before tea. Disappointed mutters punctuated the silence at North Marine Road.
The evening session was dominated by a superb duel between Dillon Pennington and Williamson, the former driving the young fast bowler for three fine boundaries but still being utterly beaten by the 19-year-old's fierce pace and movement outside the off stump. Williamson, you can be assured, will remember Pennington, for whom this has been an important match.
At the Peasholm Park End Moeen continued to extract pace and bounce from the Scarborough wicket. He had Gary Ballance caught at slip for 19 and Tom Kohler-Cadmore leg before when playing no shot for 8. The game's direction became very clear.
But if Yorkshire supporters cannot celebrate even a draw tomorrow, they can at least be pleased with their own reaction to Worcestershire's excellence. When Mitchell and Moeen returned to the pavilion the vast majority of the crowd at North Marine Road stood and applauded them with genuine warmth and appreciation. It was utterly at variance with the dumb cartoon of Yorkshiremen as mean, grudging and insular. But then the stereotype has always been the sworn enemy of thought and truth.