ANDREW GALE hailed Yorkshire’s best all-round performance of the year as they swept aside Durham by 228 runs at Headingley to keep up the pressure on County Championship title rivals Middlesex.
Current Division One leaders Middlesex also won, however, their five-wicket win at Trent Bridge against struggling Nottinghamshire leaving them one point ahead of Yorkshire with two games to play.
It means the title will almost certainly be decided when the two teams meet at Lord’s on September 20.
Chris Rushworth was last man out for the visitors, bowled by Jack Brooks as Durham were dismissed for 192.
After Durham resumed on 39-3 – chasing 421 to win – Ryan Sidebottom reduced them to 63-6. First, he had nightwatchman Graham Onions caught for six by Gary Ballance in the covers and then he trapped Scott Borthwick and Paul Collingwood cheaply.
Yorkshire were then held up by the seventh-wicket pair of Graham Clark and Michael Richardson, who battled hard in cloudy conditions.
But with the stand worth 49 in 19 overs, Tim Bresnan made the all-important breakthrough when he had Clark caught behind for 25.
Richardson was next to go, caught by Bresnan to give Sidebottom his fourth victim for a stubborn 33, before Barry McCarthy and Rushworth both followed cheaply.
“I think this was our best all-round performance of the year,” said Gale afterwards.
“To get 460 on a pretty tough pitch with plenty of moisture in it was very good and out bowling has been outstanding.
“It would have been nice if Middlesex had slipped up today but they have played some good cricket and everything is pointing to a Lord’s finale.
“Middlesex are desperate to win it and we are also desperate to it three times in a row.
“But Somerset won’t be easy next week. We have a fantastic home record and all we can do is to keep on winning.”
Gale said he would wait to see how his players were on Sunday before deciding on the team to take on Somerset and he would be keeping a watch on Steven Patterson’s father who is seriously ill. Patterson went home for a spell on Thursday because of his father’s illness and did not bowl in the Durham first innings.