Draw looms as Sussex cling on
Stumps Sussex 243 (Gatting 90, Chapple 5-68) and 151 for 3 (Goodwin 32*, Gatting 27*) v Lancashire 472 (Brown 114, Panesar 4-105)
Sussex made a healthy start to their second innings to ensure they go into the fourth day with high hopes of securing a draw against Lancashire at Liverpool.
The south-coast county began with the bat second time around facing a deficit of 229 runs but useful contributions from Chris Nash (43), stand-in captain Murray Goodwin and Joe Gatting helped them finish day three on 151 for 3 from 47 overs. The latter two will resume tomorrow morning on 32 not out and 27 not out respectively. They still trail by 78.
The visitors had been given a scare when they lost their first two wickets in consecutive overs before the tea break. Left-arm spinner Gary Keedy got Ed Joyce caught at midwicket by Sajid Mahmood and Oliver Newby trapped Nash lbw.
As generally happens, the wicket at the Aigburth ground has become much easier to bat on as the game has progressed. That was demonstrated by Lancashire replying to Sussex's first innings total of 243 with 472 all out, an innings which ended during today's afternoon session.
Steven Croft, Gareth Cross and Tom Smith all recorded half-centuries during the third day - 64, 63 and 60 respectively. It was Lancashire's highest innings total in 22 matches since they amassed 568 for 8 declared against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl in August of 2009.
Croft and Cross were the aggressors and Smith was happy to drop anchor, demonstrated by him scoring only 19 runs from 65 balls during the morning session and facing 150 balls in total for his 60.
Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar was Sussex's most successful bowler with figures of 4 for 105 from 47 overs. Three of those wickets came today and two of them in two balls. Having had Croft caught at first slip by Joyce during the morning session he bowled Cross and got Glen Chapple caught at first slip by the Irishman in consecutive balls to leave the score at 449 for 8 in the 151st.
Pace bowler Amjad Khan also chipped in with 3 for 94 from 28.5 overs. The track has so far been similar to one on the sub-continent in that it has taken turn but not with much pace. Keedy bowled 18 overs in succession and finished the day with miserly figures of 2 for 28.
His second wicket - the third Sussex one to fall - was that of Luke Wells, who was caught at midwicket by Stephen Moore after miscuing an on-drive. At that stage the visitors were 105 for 3 in the 28th over - but Goodwin and Gatting avoided any further dramas with their unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 46.