Rain halts Lancashire bid
Lancashire 177 for 3 and 320 v Kent 213
Lancashire's bid to defeat Kent and record their third successive win in the County Championship was frustrated by persistent drizzle at Old Trafford.
In the 27 overs possible on the third day, the home side took their second innings total to 177 for 3 with Ashwell Prince making an unbeaten 71 and Mark Chilton 52 not out.
That gave them a lead of 284 over Rob Key's men, who dropped three catches in a wicketless morning. However, Friday's weather forecast is mediocre and a draw is now looking the most likely result, although a lot may yet depend on the high-tech Old Trafford drainage system.
The intervention of the weather was annoying for Red Rose skipper Glen Chapple, who had seen Prince and Chilton dominate the Kent attack during a 100-minute session in which they scored at four runs an over.
Chapple may now be tempted to declare as early as possible on Friday and ask Kent to score around 300 runs on a wicket which has offered variable bounce since the first morning.
The damp afternoon was in sharp contrast to a lively first session in which Prince and Chilton added 109 runs. Kent bowled reasonably well but fielded dreadfully with three catches going down, two of them very straightforward. James Hockley spilled a regulation chance at third slip off Chilton in Amjad Khan's first over of the day and Darren Stevens dropped a low catch off Prince when the South African was on 50, Simon Cook being the unfortunate bowler.
Makhaya Ntini then dropped an easy catch at long leg when Chilton top edged a hook off Matt Coles 10 minutes before lunch. In between those errors, Chilton and Prince batted with authority, scoring their runs at a brisk rate, running well between the wickets and setting up what seemed a platform for victory.
Prince was especially savage on any loose deliveries from Khan, who went into lunch with figures of one for 67 from his 11 overs. Prince reached his fifty off 69 balls with seven fours and a six, while Chilton reached his first half-century of the season just before the interval off 99 deliveries.
If Prince reaches three figures he will be the first Lancashire batsman to score a century in each innings of a match since John Crawley against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay in 1998.