YORKSHIRE are closing in on victory over Durham in their Bob Willis Trophy match at Emirates Riverside, requiring another 68 runs to win with seven wickets remaining on the final day.

Alex Lees had set a promising platform for Durham with his first century of the season. However, Matthew Fisher broke the game open with a brilliant spell with the new ball, claiming four wickets from his six-over burst. The home side lost their final seven wickets for 45 runs, leaving Yorkshire in need of 171 runs to get off the mark in the campaign.

Chris Rushworth made early inroads into the visitors’ line-up and then claimed his 500th first-class wicket after dismissing Tom Kohler-Cadmore. Dawid Malan survived a dropped chance and then pushed on towards an unbeaten half-century to put Andrew Gale’s men in prime position to secure the win on the final day.

Durham began the day 106-2, only ten runs ahead of the visitors. However, Lees and David Bedingham continued in the same vein as the previous evening, blunting the Yorkshire attack. The two reached the 50 partnership for the third wicket before building the home side’s advantage. Bedingham began to find his rhythm, dispatching Jordan Thompson to the fence twice in two overs. The South African reached his fifty from 111 deliveries, marking his debut with a fine innings. The century stand followed for the third wicket Durham reached the end of the first session in a strong position 98 runs ahead of the visitors.

The White Rose were in need of a breakthrough to drag themselves back into the game and skipper Steven Patterson provided it. He sneaked a delivery through Bedingham’s defences and trapped the South African lbw for 77, ending the stand for third wicket for 147. Lees ground his way through to his 16th first-class century with a nudge into the off-side earning his reward for a patient knock, taking 252 deliveries and over six hours to pass three figures.

The arrival of the new ball changed the complexion of the contest. Fisher found swing and dismissed Lees for 106 with a rapid delivery that clipped his pad before removing off-stump. It was the start of a devastating spell of four wickets in 19 deliveries. Fisher sent Jack Burnham tumbling to the deck with a yorker that cleaned up his middle and off stump. Durham skipper Ned Eckersley and Paul Coughlin followed lbw, failing to cope with the full inswinging deliveries.

Jordan Thompson kept the pressure on to remove Ben Raine and Matty Potts without scoring. Gareth Harte was powerless at the other end, but he and Rushworth added a flurry of late boundaries in a partnership of 23. However, the home side were bowled out for 266, leaving the visitors chasing 171 in the fourth innings of the game to secure the win.

Rushworth loomed large in Yorkshire’s reply to move within one strike of 500 first-class wickets after dismissing both Adam Lyth and Will Fraine lbw. Malan and Kohler-Cadmore stemmed the tide, fending off the threat of Rushworth, Raine and Potts with the new ball. The two players put on fifty for the third wicket from 75 balls, but Rushworth returned from the Finchale End to break the partnership and claim his 500th wicket, trapping Kohler-Cadmore lbw for 24.

Sean Dickson missed a glorious chance to dismiss Malan for 32, putting down the former England batsman at first slip after Raine found the outside edge. Malan made the most of his opportunity scoring his first half-century for Yorkshire, leaving his team with a manageable total to chase on the final day, although predicted rain could conspire against them at Emirates Riverside.

DAY THREE SCORE: Durham 103 & 266 vs Yorkshire 199 & 103/3