Yorkshire moved to within five points of County Championship leaders Middlesex after wrapping up a resounding 305-run victory over Nottinghamshire at Scarborough.
Knowing a victory was needed to keep pace at the top of the table in what was their game in hand on their main title rivals, the White Rose county backed up Gary Ballance’s decision not to follow-on on Wednesday by securing the win early in the afternoon session.
They needed just 34.3 overs to claim the final seven wickets as the visitors were bowled out for 146 chasing 452 to win and leave their own hopes of survival in Division One hanging in the balance.
They remain rooted bottom to the bottom of the table with three matches to play while Yorkshire stay second and well in the hunt for a third successive Championship title.
Despite heavy rain for much of the evening on the east coast, play got under way on time thanks in no part to the decision to transport the club’s ‘Blotter’ from Headingley to North Marine Road in the early hours of the morning.
The machine spent two hours drying the outfield, and Tim Bresnan was soon reaping the rewards as he had Tom Moores (41) caught by Adam Lyth at second slip from just the fourth ball of the morning.
Having taken two wickets in an over on the previous day, Bresnan continued his fine form with the ball, with Samit Patel the next to succumb to the England all-rounder as he feathered an edge through to wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd.
Notts captain Chris Read fared little better as Bresnan picked up his fifth wicket, Jake Lehman the catcher at fourth slip, but Brendan Taylor and Brett Hutton were able to forge a partnership to see Notts through to lunch.
The pair added 47 for the seventh wicket, but just three balls after the interval they were parted as Ryan Sidebottom found Hutton’s outside edge and Hodd took the simplest of catches.
That sparked a lower order collapse, as Brendan Taylor (38) pushed a wide ball from Jack Brooks to Alex Lees at cover and Luke Fletcher was bowled from the very next ball to leave Notts on the brink of defeat.
People had a pop at us for not enforcing the follow-on but it shows the strength of our team and we stick by what we believe gives us the best opportunity to win a game of cricket.Yorkshire head coach, Jason Gillespie.
Imran Tahir was able to survive the hat-trick delivery, but he faced just three more deliveries before fending Brooks off to Lees at short-leg as the final four wickets fell in just three-and-a-half overs after lunch.
Bresnan finished with career best figures of 5-36 and his best in any first-class match across the two innings of 8-51.
Afterwards, Jason Gillespie said the result vindicated the decision not to enforce the follow-on.
“It was the right call,” he said. “People had a pop at us for not enforcing the follow-on but it shows the strength of our team and we stick by what we believe gives us the best opportunity to win a game of cricket. We’ve been vindicated in it.
“It’s a very important result against a very good side. Obviously Notts didn’t play their best cricket but we knew they were going to be a good challenge. We’re pleased as punch. To go from 51 for six on the first day to win by 300 runs – this team never ceases to amaze me. It’s important how you respond to the positions we find ourselves in at times, but I couldn’t be any more proud of them. There’s no words to describe it.
“You can point to a number of individual performances this game that were wonderful performances, but with the team collective there was no panic. There was a real calmness in the dressing room even when we found ourselves in a spot of bother. That is a hallmark of a decent side and a side that backs their ability, trusts their game and believes.
“That’s fantastic for us going into these last four games but we know we just have to control what we can and keep level-headed. Hopefully, that will give us a chance to compete and put us somewhere near the top at the end of the season.”