Yorkshire were handed a timely boost ahead of their crucial County Championship meeting with Durham at Scarborough with the news that Adam Lyth has signed a contract extension.
The opening batsman, who came through the ranks at Scarborough, became the tenth Yorkshire player to put pen to paper this season when he agreed a new deal, which will extend his Headingley stay to the winter of 2015.
“We are delighted that Adam has signed a contract extension,” Yorkshire’s director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, said.
“He has been a mainstay of our batting department for a number of years now and his experience in top flight domestic cricket is vital in our progression.
“His influence on the wider group will be beneficial in our development over the next few years.”
Table-topping Yorkshire know that a win over second-placed Durham - who trail them by 25.5 points, with a game in hand - will give captain Andrew Gale one finger on the coveted County Championship trophy - a fitting achievement in the club’s 150th anniversary year.
Yorkshire’s climb to the summit of the four-day game is made all the more remarkable when you consider that two of their best players, Tim Bresnan and Joe Root, have missed the entire summer on Ashes duty with England.
Team-mate Jonny Bairstow played four test matches against the Australians, too, before returning for Yorkshire’s three-day win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, and he and Gary Ballance both took their places in the Yorkshire line up for the Durham game, which began yesterday.
“We are playing some positive cricket,” skipper Gale said, “and to go to Trent Bridge and win in three days was a great result for us.
“The guys put in a fantastic effort and even though we are clear at the top of the table, we know there is a lot of cricket to be played.
“We are excited about what the next five weeks hold and it should be an interesting end to the season.”
After Durham, Yorkshire face Sussex, Middlesex and Surrey in their quest for the Championship, and Gale added: “We can’t afford to think that we have the title in the bag.
“There is still a quarter of the season left and a hell of a lot of cricket to be played.
“It can turn around very fast and the last thing we want is talking about winning titles.
“We are playing well at present and with a lot of confidence, but with some pivotal matches still to be played, all we can do is concentrate on each day.
“We will not be getting carried away with our status in the table.
“We are aware of the expectation levels surrounding the club - as a Yorkshire cricketer that comes with the territory, and that’s what makes the club special.
“The players have dealt with that really well. We are a grounded group and we are looking forward to the challenge. We relish the pressure and we won’t be taking a backward step.”
Root, meanwhile, could play for England today in their T20 against Australia at Southampton.