GARY Ballance is refusing to get too et up with the Specsavers County Championship table, preferring to concentrate on the positives that have come from this week’s rain-affected clash with Middlesex at Headingley.

The Yorkshire captain praised his players for their displays with bat and ball across the first three days of a fixture which has seen 142 overs lost and will almost certainly finish in a draw today.

Yorkshire are likely to take between 10 and 12 points, although they could be closer to the relegation zone than they were before the match.

With seventh-placed Somerset on course to beat Warwickshire at Edgbaston, they are set to significantly reduce the 23-point gap between the two teams that stood beforehand.

Having said that, Middlesex are in exactly the same situation given they are only one point better off than Yorkshire.

At close on day three, Middlesex were 108-3 from 32 overs in reply to 358.

"If other teams get results, we can't control that,” said Ballance.

“We can only control how we perform, and there are good signs. I've seen some good performances over the three days here, and we’re getting back to where we can play.

"It's been frustrating, but hopefully we can get some more cricket in. We want to get as many points as we can.”

Yorkshire started a day which saw 56 overs lost by advancing their first innings from 317-7 to 358, securing a fourth batting bonus point.

It was only the second time this season they have claimed more than two batting points in an innings.

"I was very pleased with the batting,” said Ballance.

“I thought we batted very well on a tough pitch.

“It was a bit slow and seamed. But everyone put a price on their wicket and got stuck in. It just shows what we can do.”

Ireland seamer Tim Murtagh picked up two of the three wickets to fall in the first hour of play, getting Liam Plunkett lbw for 34 with the third ball of the day and later Ben Coad caught at first slip to leave the score at 336-9.

Ryan Sidebottom then hit two boundaries to help Yorkshire get to 350 for the fourth point as he started an impressive personal day before Tim Bresnan fell to James Harris for 44.

If Yorkshire were going to have a chance of forcing an unlikely win, they realistically needed to strike in the 17 overs Middlesex batted before lunch.

But Sam Robson and Nick Compton shared 73 for the first wicket to blunt the new ball, with their partnership only broken just after lunch by Sidebottom.

The left-armer rocked Compton’s off stump for 42 as the batsman played down the wrong line to a ball that went across him.

It was the first of two wickets in successive overs for Sidebottom, who got Stevie Eskinazi caught at third slip to leave the score at 83-2 in the 24th.

That came just before the first of two rain delays. The first just before 2pm limited the afternoon to just 7.5 overs before the second came seven overs after tea at 4pm.

In the shortened evening, Sidebottom had Robson caught behind for 47. Only two more balls were bowled in the day, with Sidebottom finishing with 3-49 from 14 overs.