Horton takes Lancashire towards parity
Lancashire 293 for 8 v Nottinghamshire 326
Opener Paul Horton fell one short of his first hundred in the County Championship since April 2010 as title-chasing Lancashire closed to within 33 of Nottinghamshire's first-innings total of 326 at Trent Bridge.
The 28-year-old right-hander was one of four victims of Notts all-rounder Paul Franks, the star performer with the ball for the hosts after top-scoring on day one with 69. Horton shared an opening partnership of 82 with Stephen Moore (42) before Notts made inroads into the Lancashire batting in the afternoon session thanks to an excellent spell from Franks, who took three for 13 from eight overs.
With Lancashire falling to 243 for 8, Sajid Mahmood then added an unbroken 50 for the ninth wicket with Kyle Hogg to push the visitors on to 293 at the close. On a pitch that has offered something for both batsmen and bowlers throughout the opening two days, the Lancashire openers survived the first hour-and-an-half's play before Stephen Moore fell to a poor shot, slashing at a wide delivery from Luke Fletcher and edging a simple catch to wicketkeeper Chris Read.
Fletcher struck again six overs later with a good ball that found the edge of Karl Brown's bat for a slip catch, but Horton was unbowed at lunch on 46 not out alongside Mark Chilton. The afternoon session belonged to Franks, who has stepped up to become a crucial member of the Notts XI once more since the retirement of Mark Ealham in 2009.
Finding bounce and seam movement from the Pavilion End, the 32-year-old bowled Mark Chilton via an inside-edge, Steven Croft caught at midwicket and Tom Smith caught behind as Lancashire went into tea on 194 for 5.
Horton was the least troubled by Franks, leaving well and taking singles as well as hitting 11 fours as the rest of the Notts attack struggled to meet Franks' excellence. It was no surprise Franks was the man to end Horton's resistance with another fine delivery, lifting to take the shoulder of the bat on the way through to Read.
Charlie Shreck struck with the new ball to remove Farveez Maharoof, well caught by David Hussey at second slip, who also caught Gareth Cross off Fletcher's bowling three overs later. Mahmood then turned the tide again with a rapid 39 from 45 balls, including five fours, with Hogg providing able assistance with an unbeaten 19 in what is an intriguingly-poised match.