Yorkshire 296 (Lyth 62, Bresnan 47, Rankin 3-48) and 56 for 3 require a further 119 runs to beat Warwickshire 219 (Patel 100, Fisher 5-54 ) and 251 (Trott 59, Patterson 4-46)
Yorkshire just about held their nerve to come through another hard fought day against Warwickshire and make inroads into a target of 175 on day three at Headingley, although the loss of three wickets ensured an uncomfortable conclusion.
The White Rose still have work to do, but they are just about on course to secure a potentially relegation saving Specsavers County Championship victory having closed on 56 for three, needing 119 more.
The pitch is no minefield for the batsmen, although has offered assistance for seam and spin bowlers throughout the match added to swing.
Steve Patterson, who took four wickets for Yorkshire, said: “We’ve got to come back and play well tomorrow. Patel is a quality bowler and has been for a number of years for them. It’s going to be tough against him because it’s spinning. But we’ve got good players to combat him.
“In the context of the season, it’s huge tomorrow. We’ve all noticed that Middlesex have won, which gives them breathing space from Somerset and us at this moment. If we get on the right end of it, we’re in a healthy position going into that last game. If we don’t win, we’ll be up against it. It’s in our own hands, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Should the hosts complete a 21-point win, it would be the ideal riposte to relegation rivals Middlesex’s three-day success against Lancashire at Lord’s.
Somerset would then need to turn their game around against Surrey at the Oval to avoid going into next week’s final round as the favourites for the drop.
They host Middlesex at Taunton, while Yorkshire travel to Chelmsford to face newly crowned champions Essex.
Patterson was Yorkshire’s standout bowler with a season’s best haul of 4 for 46 from 26 overs, including the wickets of Ian Bell and top-scorer Jonathan Trott for 59.
Having endured a largely frustrating season through selection and loss of form, the 33-year-old was at his miserly best as the hosts prised out nine Warwickshire wickets.
He claimed all four of his wickets today, while Tim Bresnan finished with three.
Warwickshire started day three on 49 for one, trailing by 28, and they advanced largely through captain Trott and Tim Ambrose’s 49.
Their innings took a similar path to Yorkshire’s first innings in that a number of players got starts without converting. Opener Liam Banks hit 29, Matt Lamb added 25 and Alex Thomson 20.
Patterson struggled in last week’s high-scoring draw against Surrey at the Oval and had only taken 14 wickets in seven matches prior to this fixture.
But this year’s Headingley beneficiary struck once in the morning and twice in an afternoon session which was interrupted by 20 minutes through rain, meaning the loss of one over from the allotted 96. He added his fourth after tea.
Jack Brooks made the initial breakthrough to get Banks caught behind before Patterson also had Bell caught by Andrew Hodd for 14, although via inside edge, as the score slipped 109 for three in the 36th over of the innings.
Trott reached 50 off 72 balls just before lunch.
Trott was then the first of four afternoon wickets to fall when trapped lbw by Patterson, who got Lamb the same way shortly afterwards as the score fell to 161 for five after 58 overs, a lead of 84.
Bresnan then struck three times in four overs either side of tea to really break the back of Warwickshire’s resistance.
He bowled all-rounder Thomson and had Ambrose caught low down at first slip by Alex Lees before the break.
When he had Chris Wright caught at mid-off following a miscue after tea, the Bears were 230 for eight in the 78th over, a lead of 153.
Patterson’s fourth came with the new ball when uprooted Jeetan Patel’s middle stump before Ben Coad had Ryan Sidebottom caught at second slip to wrap up the innings with his 50th first-class wicket of the season.
Yorkshire’s pursuit of their target was not without incident in the final 22 overs of the day as the visitors continued to fight hard.
Adam Lyth was trapped lbw by Sidebottom and Lees edged behind off Patel as the score slipped to 25 for two.
Ballance pulled Patel for six over mid-wicket before Kraigg Brathwaite was caught at short-leg off Patel in the day’s final over.