ADAM LYTH and Alex Lees shared Yorkshire’s fourth-highest partnership of all time to keep the county on course for a crucial LV= County Championship win over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
Double centurion Lyth and centurion Lees shared 375 inside 119 overs of their second innings, also representing Yorkshire’s highest stand since Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe shared a record 555 against Essex in 1932.
Lyth’s 230 off 398 balls was his second career double, while Lees’ 138 was his first Championship ton of the summer.
The declaration came from Andrew Gale with 24 overs left of the third day to set Northants 432, and they closed on 66-3 thanks to two wickets from Tim Bresnan. Jack Brooks picked up the other.
Northants will resume needing another 366 to win with Matt Spriegel and Rob Keogh at the crease.
There was also a debut 63 off 64 balls for Aaron Finch, promoted to number three during the afternoon, while 20-year-old Jack Leaning’s 52 not out off 53 represented his maiden first-class fifty.
This was Leaning’s full Championship debut for Yorkshire having only played part of last summer’s home match with Surrey when he was substituted in for England bound Gary Ballance.
"We are (in a great position), yes. We're controlling the game now, and hopefully we can drive our lead home,” said York right-hander Leaning. “I don't suppose the game could have gone much better for us from being bowled out for 136.
“The boys have played well, and it was good to watch.
"Leesy and Lythy got us off to a ridiculous start really, putting nearly 400 on for the first wicket. It put us in great shape for the lads down the order to come in and play a few shots at the end.”
Leaning shared 62 inside 13 overs for the third wicket with Finch and an unbroken 60 inside seven for the fourth with Jonny Bairstow (25 not out).
The declaration came after an explosive eight overs of the evening session which saw Leaning and Bairstow both hit huge sixes over mid-wicket.
It was an ideal time for Leaning to come in and bat, although he admitted there was still some pressure to perform;.
"It's always nice to get off and running," he added. "There was still a bit of pressure on because you want to do well and contribute to the team. But it was nice with there being some tired bowlers and a bit of an older ball.”
Lyth is now one of only two batsmen in division one to have topped 650 runs for the season alongside Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel.
Yorkshire had to wait nearly 11 overs for the breakthrough in the Northants second innings, but they snared three wickets in 14 balls as the hosts slipped from 31-0 to 32-3 in the 14th.
Bresnan had James Middlebrook caught behind with the last ball of the eleventh before getting Stephen Peters caught at second slip by Lyth in the 13th. Brooks then trapped David Sales lbw with the first ball of the 14th.
Yorkshire’s five highest partnerships in their first-class history have now all been scored by openers.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire’s NatWest T20 Blast clash with Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday is heading for a sell out.
LV= County Championship
Yorkshire First Innings 136 (A J Finch 34).
Northamptonshire First Innings 251 (J A Brooks 4-78).
Yorkshire Second Innings
A Lyth c Duckett b Hall 230
A Z Lees c Chambers b Spriegel 138
A J Finch c Peters b Chambers 63
J A Leaning not out 52
J M Bairstow not out 25
Extras (b13 lb10 w7 nb8) 38
Total 3 wkts dec (147 overs) 546
Fall: 1-375 2-424 3-486.
Bowling: Chambers 27-3-100-1, Azharullah 27-3-102-0, Butler 16-4-77-0, Middlebrook 26-4-69-0, Hall 26-4-96-1, Spriegel 25-5-79-1.
Northamptonshire Second Innings
S D Peters c Lyth b Bresnan 23
J D Middlebrook c Bairstow b Bresnan 6
D J G Sales lbw b Brooks 0
M N W Spriegel not out 14
R I Keogh not out 19
Extras (lb2 nb2) 4
Total 3 wkts (24 overs) 66
Fall: 1-31 2-32 3-32.
Bowling: Bresnan 8-1-23-2, Brooks 8-2-15-1, Patterson 4-1-13-0, Plunkett 4-0-13-0.