Dom Bess handed England’s selectors a timely reminder with his career-best seven-wicket return to leave the key LV= County Championship clash against Northamptonshire in the balance.
The off-spinner, who will be eyeing a Test recall when the series against India begins next month, finished with seven for 43 to restrict the home side to 170 in their first innings at Wantage Road.
That left Yorkshire with a minimal deficit of 12 and Harry Brook’s unbeaten 76, his highest red-ball score of the campaign, steered them to 159 for six at stumps, an overall lead of 147.
Despite Simon Kerrigan’s four for 31, Northamptonshire look set for a difficult run chase on a turning wicket as they bid for the victory that would maintain their hopes of a top-two finish in Group Three.
Resuming on 61 for two, Northamptonshire initially made good progress in the morning, with Ricardo Vasconcelos batting confidently for his knock of 55.
However, Bess triggered a middle-order collapse, with four wickets falling quickly as the spinner found turn and bounce to have both Charlie Thurston and Vasconcelos well taken by Harry Duke behind the stumps.
With Rob Keogh fending a Duanne Olivier bouncer into the hands of second slip – and Luke Procter absent for personal reasons – the home side suddenly found themselves floundering at what was effectively 110 for seven.
Saif Zaib dropped anchor, batting an hour and 20 minutes for 11 as he and Tom Taylor – who struck six fours in an unbeaten 42 – stopped the rot with a partnership of 36 either side of lunch.
Bess cleaned up the tail, trapping both Zaib and Wayne Parnell leg before and having Ben Sanderson caught at slip just after Taylor had carved Steven Patterson to the third man boundary to earn his side a slender lead.
Yorkshire openers Adam Lyth and George Hill soon wiped out the deficit, but they were pegged back by the introduction of Kerrigan – the left-arm spinner’s first delivery hitting Hill’s off stump.
Deft glovework by Vasconcelos earned Kerrigan his second scalp, with debutant Sam Northeast stumped cheaply, and Yorkshire were 24 for three when the wicketkeeper dived to take Lyth’s outside edge with a superb one-handed grab.
Brook led the rebuilding job, sharing substantial partnerships with Gary Ballance – who was given out lbw to Kerrigan despite the hint of an inside edge – as well as Bess and Duke and dispatching Parnell for successive boundaries en route to his half-century.
Yorkshire 158 (Keogh 2/8, Taylor 2/14) & 159/6 (Kerrigan 4/31, Parnell 1/18)
Northamptonshire 170. (Vasconcelos 55, Taylor 42*)
Northamptonshire trail by 97.