Lancashire will need another 205 runs with all ten wickets in hand during Thursday's final day to beat Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge
The Red Rose were set 237 to win, and reached close on day three safely positioned at 32-0 from 13 overs thanks to some cautious and gutsy batting from Paul Horton and Stephen Moore, in particular.
Moore was struck twice on the left hand by Luke Fletcher and Andre Adams as he reached 17 not out.
“That was the perfect ending to the day,” said Kyle Hogg, who claimed four wickets in Notts’ second innings. “Horts and Moorey batted really well because it was a very tough time to bat.
“As a batter, you’ve got everything to lose. They really got stuck in. Notts would have hoped to have got at least two wickets.”
Lancashire were on course to win this one inside three days when they reduced the hosts, who are aiming to avoid a fourth loss on the spin, to 81-7 in their second innings.
Hogg led the way with four of them and Sajid Mahmood, who finished with five, got three.
But their good work was undone somewhat by a frustrating stand of 119 for the eighth wicket between Paul Franks and Adams as the momentum was handed back to the hosts.
Having earlier bowled Lancashire out for 306, with Fletcher claiming a maiden five-wicket haul, the hosts slumped thanks to some excellent bowling on a helpful surface.
But, following the first of two rain delays, Franks and Adams really got stuck in and advanced their partnership in entertaining and devastating fashion, depending on which side of the fence you sit.
They even took 22 runs off one Farveez Maharoof over, the 39th of the innings.
Mahmood took three of the first four wickets to fall before lunch.
He trapped Neil Edwards and Samit Patel lbw and ripped out David Hussey’s off pole as he did the Australian for pace.
And the first of Hogg’s four came when first innings half-centurion Alex Hales murdered a cut shot to point, where Steven Croft took a fabulous low catch.
That left the score at 40-4, but Rikki Wessels and Steven Mullaney advanced it to 78-4 from 22 overs at lunch.
Lancashire, however, were soon back amongst the wickets. More precisely, Hogg was.
He claimed three in seven balls, including one with the first ball of the afternoon session, to leave Notts seven down and tottering.
He trapped Mullaney lbw and had Wessels caught behind down the leg-side by Gareth Cross in the first over before trapping Read lbw in the second.
But that brought Franks, who has now scored 40 or more in six of his last seven Championship innings against Lancashire after his first day 69, and Adams together.
They were positive, yet cautious as Lancashire struggled to stem the flow of runs.
Adams pulled Hogg for six and hooked Mahmood for two more, his third bringing up his fifty off 47 balls. He also hit five fours. Franks was far more cautious, only hitting six fours in his 64-ball half-century.
“Once Andre Adams gets going, as he’s done in both innings, he can be quite hard to stop,” said Hogg, who eventually saw the home side bowled for 216. “He can make this ground look very small.
“We tried all sorts. He’s a tail-ender, and we were hoping that he’d hit one in the air, which he didn’t seem to do. Saj ended up getting him with a good short ball, but him and Franks batted well.”
The partnership was broken shortly before the second rain break when Adams gloved a short ball from Mahmood behind to leave the score at 200-8.
Another hour-long delay for the rain accounted for 16 overs of the day’s allocation, but this time it was Lancs who came back out with more gusto.
Gary Keedy had Franks stumped by Cross for 57 off 88 balls and Mahmood had Fletcher caught by Maharoof at cover to complete his second five-for of the match.
That allowed Horton and Moore to reduce their victory target before the end of a day that lost 26 overs through weather.
Mahmood, who finished with 5-74 from 14.1 overs, notched the second ten-wicket haul of his career.
And Hogg, who recorded 4-44 from 12, added: “If you’d have said at the beginning of the game that we’d be chasing 240 to win in a day and a bit whatever happens, we’d have taken it.”
Lancashire have been docked one point for a slow over rate.
Reports: Day 1 I Day 2
Photo (c) John Walton/EMPICS Sport
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