Yorkshire have won their first Cricket County Championship in over a decade after they defeated Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Adil Rashid spurred title-chasing Yorkshire to a priceless innings-and-18-run victory over Lancashire at Old Trafford but captain Andrew Gale will miss the run-in after being hit with a season-ending ban.
Yorkshire took a giant stride towards winning the LV= County Championship for the first time since 2001 with their Roses match victory. It was Yorkshire's first championship win over Lancashire in 16 matches, a run stretching back to 2002 and puts Gale's team in a commanding position from which to push on and secure the title.
Yet Gale will be absent for next week's crunch match against second-placed Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and the Headingley finale against Somerset a fortnight later after being punished following an altercation with Lancashire's Ashwell Prince.
Aggrieved by what he perceived as delaying tactics by batsman Prince when Yorkshire were bowling on Tuesday evening, Gale spoke his mind rather too strongly, and a Wednesday morning apology to Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple was not sufficient to get him out of trouble.
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced Gale's ban in a statement, which confirmed he had been reported by umpires Steve Garrett and Steve O'Shaughnessy "for a level two breach" of ECB directives, defined as "using language or gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator".
A six-point penalty on his disciplinary record took Gale to 12 points, the stage at which a suspension is triggered, and he has been banned up to and including Friday, September 26.
On the day when fellow title-challengers Nottinghamshire lost to Durham at Chester-le-Street, the win at Old Trafford leaves Yorkshire 26 points ahead of the Trent Bridge side going into next week's game.
After qualifying for the quarter finals of the Royal London One Day Cup with victory yesterday against Derbyshire at Scarborough, Yorkshire will turn their attentions back to the race for the County Championship crown.
They take on Sussex in Scarborough and a win would see them edge a little closer to their first Championship title since 2001.
John Shires reports:
Yorkshire bowler Oliver Robinson has had his contract cancelled by the LV= County Championship leaders due to "a number of unprofessional actions".
The 20-year-old paceman is yet to make his first-class debut but did feature seven times in this season's Natwest T20 Blast, taking six wickets with an economy rate of 9.52.
"The Yorkshire County Cricket Club have today announced that Oliver Robinson's contract has been terminated with immediate effect due to a number of unprofessional actions," read a statement on the county's website.
"No further comment will be made by the club."
Yorkshire returned to the top of the LV= County Championship First Division table when they completed a comprehensive 220-run victory over Middlesex at Scarborough by bowling them out for 201.
The win put them five points ahead of second-placed Nottinghamshire and 16 points in front of Somerset, and each of the leading three sides have four matches still to play. For a long while it looked as if Middlesex may well hold out but it was leg-spinner Adil Rashid who did much of the late damage with his season's best figures of four for 27.
Yorkshire did not announce a declaration at their overnight 400 for five until arriving at North Marine Road on the final morning and this left Middlesex either to make 422 for victory or to bat out day for the draw.
In sunny but less humid conditions it soon became apparent that Ryan Sidebottom could not swing the ball as much as in the first innings when he captured seven for 44, the second best figures of his career, but he would still have made the first breakthrough if wicket-keeper, Jonny Bairstow, flinging himself to his right, could have on to a sharp chance offered by Chris Rogers.
Jack Brooks had looked the more dangerous of the two and he was rewarded in the next over when Nick Gubbins was caught by the acrobatic Adam Lyth at second slip, the umpires conferring to determine if the ball had carried.
Rogers, as was to be expected, was in determined mood, and he and Dawid Malan added 52 before the latter slashed at Tim Bresnan and was held by a juggling Alex Lees at first slip for 26 from 44 balls with four boundaries.
Eoin Morgan exhibited little of his natural flair as he concentrated hard on keeping his captain company and, with Middlesex going in to lunch on 89 for two, the morning's honours had been equally divided.
It was a fine spell of bowling from Steven Patterson that raised Yorkshire's hopes early in the afternoon session and only three runs had been added when the paceman grabbed two wickets in two balls.
His first was the prize scalp of Rogers who got a leading edge to second slip and a jubilant Lyth raised his arm high above his head upon completing the catch.
In came Paul Stirling only to depart immediately, trapped lbw, John Simpson squirting the hat-trick delivery down to third man for three.
When Patterson's excellent spell of 7-3-14-2 ended, Rashid came on for the first time and Simpson, on 28, played him to short leg where Jack Leaning narrowly failed to pull off a reflex catch.
Survival, if not before, was now the name of the game for Middlesex, and Simpson, for the second time in the match, was a key figure in reviving the innings, along with Morgan, whose scoring shots almost came to a standstill.
The fifth-wicket pair were still together at tea when the total had limped on to 155 for four, Morgan having scratched out 14 from the afternoon session without once finding the boundary.
Simpson's 50 shortly after the break arrived from 80 balls with five fours and the troublesome stand was worth 71 in 30 overs when Morgan's vigil ended. He went back to one from Rashid which carried straight on and edged to Bairstow after lasting two hours and 43 minutes for his 29 from 137 balls.
Yorkshire's late surge continued as Ollie Rayner injudiciously swept at Rashid and was caught at slip by Alex Lees off Bairstow's glove and new batsman Toby Roland-Jones would also have gone have gone to the leg-spinner if Bairstow had managed to hold on.
Brooks came on at the Trafalgar Square end to partner Rashid in what soon proved to be a shrewd move and hastened the game towards its close.
Brooks' second ball drifted away from Roland-Jones and found the edge to be caught by Bairstow and Rashid then had Tom Helm caught in the slips by Kane Williamson.
Middlesex's last chance of saving the match disappeared when Simpson was also caught by Williamson, this time off Brooks, and the game was wrapped up as Tim Murtagh spooned up Rashid and was held by Lyth running round from leg slip.
Jeetan Patel took a hat-trick to help Birmingham Bears claim an exciting five-wicket victory over Yorkshire Vikings in the NatWest t20 Blast North Division match at Headingley.
The veteran spinner dismissed Kane Williamson, Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth off successive balls in the ninth over to help reduce Yorkshire to 62 for five, and although the hosts recovered to post 147 for six, it was not enough to deny Birmingham.
Led by Laurie Evans' 69 not out off 43 balls, which included nine fours and two sixes, the Bears - who looked in trouble at 40 for four - squeezed home with two balls to spare in front of a 6,251 crowd.
Victory for the home side would have ensured them of a place in the last eight of the competition but now they will most probably have to beat Nottinghamshire at the same venue in a week's time to make the cut.
Yorkshire's Joe Root and Lancashire's James Anderson rode roughshod over the record books with the highest 10th-wicket stand in Test history on a surreal fourth morning against India.
The pair batted serenely for the entire opening session as they took their partnership to the dizzy heights of 198, eclipsing the 163 made by Australia's Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes on the same Trent Bridge pitch last year.
Root cantered to his fourth hundred, finishing unbeaten on 156, but Anderson was the revelation as he smashed his own previous highs in Tests (34), first-class (37no) and club cricket (49no).
His 81 was not only his first ever competitive half-century but also the top score by a England number 11, besting John Snow's 59no in 1966.
England's 496 all out represented a lead of 39 - unthinkable when Anderson joined Root at 298 for nine on the third evening.
Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett is set to make his first appearance in an England shirt since 2007 against Sri Lanka at Lord's.
He joins fellow Yorkshire player Gary Ballance on a teamsheet which includes debuts for Sam Robson, Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan.