Middlesex vs Yorkshire - Day Three: Bresnan's century leaves game evenly poised ahead of tense final day

Bresnan scored a brilliant 142 not out for Yorkshire to leave the game in the balance ahead of the decisive final day in County Championship Division one

Middlesex vs Yorkshire - Day Three: Bresnan's century leaves game evenly poised ahead of tense final day
Bresnan salutes the crowd after finishing 142 not out in Yorkshire innings of 390 (Picture source: Philip Brown / Getty Images)

At the close on day three at Lords, Middlesex battled along to 81-2 in their second innings of their County Championship Division One match against Yorkshire.

Yorkshire began day three on 235-6 in their first innings with the game still in the balance. Tim Bresnan though tilted the balance in Yorkshire's favour making 142 not out as they reached 390 in their first innings which was a lead of 120.

Azeem Rafiq also played a major part in getting the visitors up past the 350 they needed to claim the fourth batting bonus point, by scoring 65.

The hosts then begun their second innings after tea but lost two early wickets before Nick Gubbins and Dawid Malan put on an unbeaten 79 partnership as Middlesex closed the day 39 runs behind the visitors, with both sides in need of victory to claim the title following Somerset's win over Nottinghamshire at Taunton

Bresnan and rafiq tilt the match in Yorkshire's favour

Day three at Lords started with beautiful bright sunshine with the game right in the balance after the first two days of the game. 

Yorkshire began the day on 235-6 with Bresnan returning to the crease on 72 not out. He was there with Rafiq as the pair tried to get their team up and beyond 300. The pair did this beautifully, scoring runs at a good pace against the old ball.

The pair took their partnership past the 100 mark with Rafiq getting to his half century and Bresnan getting to his hundred as the hosts struggled to make any inroads, while dropping Rafiq on two ocassions..

Rafiq and Bresnan congratulate each other during their century partnership | Photo:
Rafiq and Bresnan congratulate each other during their century partnership | Photo: Dan Mullan / Getty Images

The pair's partnership was finally broken on 114 when Tim Murtagh bowled Rafiq for 65 to leave the score on 318-7, 32 short of getting the final bonus batting point which they needed. 

A further wicket then fell just before lunch when Steven Finn dismissed Steven Patterson for 11, meaning that the visitors went to lunch on 333-8 with Bresnan 108 not out. They were still 17 short though of the magic 350 mark they wanted. 

Sidebottom hit a four to get Yorkshire final bonus batting point

After lunch, the tension only got worse when Murtagh bowled Jack Brooks to leave the score on 334-9.

It meant that Ryan Sidebottom had to stick around with Bresnan to try and get to the essential score of 350.

To make things worse, the rain came and took the players off the field for over an hour with the score on 349-9 and Yorkshire's title chances still in the balance.

When play did resume the tension was unbearable but a flick down the leg side for four from Sidebottom got the visitors past the 350 mark and secured their fourth bonus batting point, meaning victory would hand them the title. 

The final pair then decided to throw their bat at the ball and have some fun as they frustrated the home side by putting on a half-century partnership.

The final wicket though did finally come with the last ball before tea when Ollie Rayner removed Sidebottom for 23. It meant that Yorkshire were all out for 390, with a lead of 120. Bresnan held his bat aloft and ended the innings on 142 not out.

Hosts lost two early wickets but a late partnership means that there is everything to play for on the final day

After tea, the visitors took their momentum from their batting effort into their bowling as they managed to skittle out two very early wickets.

Firstly, Sidebottom removed Sam Robson for a duck in the first over of the innings, before Brooks removed Nick Compton for the second time in the game for one.

Brooks bowled Compton in the final session of the day with a beauty | Photo:
Brooks bowled Compton in the final session of the day with a beauty | Photo: Philip Brown / Getty Images

This brought Malan to the crease to join first-innings centurion Gubbins and the pair saw their side through to the close with a half-century partnership without losing any more wickets as the team closed on 81-2, 39 runs behind Yorkshire.

The teams return tomorrow, with both needing a victory to prize the Championship title away from Somerset who currently sit in pole position.