Lancashire v Gloucestershire, County Championship Div Two, Old Trafford, 3rd day May 12, 2015

Handscomb, Marshall respond to Horton 168

Gloucestershire 388 and 206 for 3 (Handscomb 74*, Marshall 71*) lead Lancashire 364 (Horton 168, Norwell 4-95) by 230 runs

Paul Horton's 168 was essential to keep Lancashire in check © PA Photos

An unbroken 130-run partnership between fourth-wicket pair Peter Handscomb and Hamish Marshall after tea on day three ensured Gloucestershire took charge against Lancashire at Old Trafford.

The visitors gained a of 24 on first innings on the stroke of lunch during today's third day, which could have been far greater but for Paul Horton who compled a 298-ball innings of 168 - his fifth score above 150 in 12 years of Championship cricket.

Gloucestershire built on their slender lead second time around to close with a healthy lead of 230 and a chance to push for what would only be a ninth victory in Lancashire in their history.

When fledgling Australian Handscomb and veteran New Zealander Marshall came together in the early stages of the evening, Gloucestershire were 76 for 3 in the 27th over with a lead of 100 and the contest in the balance.

Peter Siddle struck twice with the new ball inside the first eleven overs as Gloucestershire's slipped to 30 for 2, with first-innings centurion Chris Dent one of his scalps. Dent lost his off-stump as he offered no shot before Gareth Roderick, late on one that nipped back appreciably, was trapped lbw. Nathan Buck later picked up his first Red Rose wicket as Will Tavare played on for 34, and Lancashire had their tails up.

But Handscomb and Marshall regained the momentum during their 36.5 overs together in what remain decent batting conditions. Both players brought up their fifties inside the last hour of play, with Handscomb's coming off 99 balls and Marshall's second of the match coming off 83. They will begin day four on 74 and 71 not out respectively.

Not only do Lancashire have to work out a way of bowling Gloucestershire out, they also have to keep an eye on their over-rate as they ended the day at minus two.

Earlier, Liam Norwell took two of the four Lancashire wickets to fall for 17 runs to finish with 4 for 95. Horton fell five short of his best score in county cricket - 173 against Somerset at Taunton in 2009 - having shared an 82-run partnership inside 28 overs for the seventh wicket with Siddle. Their stand started during the latter stages of day two, and they took Lancashire to within 41 of Gloucestershire's total before Siddle was trapped lbw by Norwell for 40, leaving the score at 347 for 7 in the 104th over of the innings.

Horton was caught behind in Norwell's next over with 350 on the board before Craig Miles had Buck caught at second slip and Tom Smith's left-arm spin accounted for Kyle Jarvis, caught by Norwell running from cover towards point.

Gloucestershire batsman Hamish Marshall said: "It's nice to have finished the day well. Three down for a 230 lead is a position we'd have liked to have been in at the start of the day. We've got that. We've now got to work out how we can get ourselves in a position to put pressure on Lancashire and win the game.

"Siddle and Jarvis are quality bowlers, and they asked a lot of questions in the first innings. In this innings, they got some early poles. It was nice to get a partnership going and put them under pressure. If we can give ourselves some overs with runs on the board, we'll have a crack at trying to win the game."

Lancashire bowler Peter Siddle added: "I think we batted pretty well this morning to get us into the position we got to, but it was a bit disappointing not to eek a few more runs out and get in front. The way we started with the ball that second dig with a few early wickets, credit goes to their last partnership. They batted well and batted time. They were patient. It's made for an interesting day tomorrow.

"The pitch has played pretty well for the last couple of days really. Day one was a bit up and down, and we thought it was going to deteriorate a lot more. It's played pretty well. We need a couple of quick wickets. If we don't get them, it does make it hard for us to get in front of the game."