Lancashire 437 (Law 79, Loye 67, Bruce 4-85) and 8 for 1 (Sutcliffe 7*, Smith 0*) lead Hampshire 215 (Crawley 63, Cork 4-47) by 231 runs
The sight of James Anderson bowling was overshadowed on the second day at The Rose Bowl by Dominic Cork's four wickets and events at Trent Bridge. For all Lancashire's incision with the ball and control of this match, their title hopes are fast slipping away with Sussex on the verge of a comprehensive win, which would crown them champions.
All Lancashire could do, though, was collect all available points from this match and on that front the day was a complete success. Their first ambition was to notch as many batting points as they could muster and they fought hard to in reach 400.
Tom Smith was particularly impressive at No. 9 and, together with Luke Sutton, put on 88 for the ninth wicket to keep Lancashire's hopes alive. Their bowlers then took over during the afternoon, removing both openers cheaply; only John Crawley - a cut above his team-mates in this game, and playing against his former team - stood in their way with a fighting fifty at the end of a prolific season.
The performance of Anderson was pleasing. Tall at the crease and straight in his delivery stride, and playing his first Championship match since the debilitating stress fracture of his back, he was limited to short three and four-over spells at the bequest of the ECB (a maximum of 12 were permitted).
However, it was the evergreen Cork who proved more incisive, cutting through Hampshire's brittle line-up before Smith finished things off with three quick wickets. Last week it was Cork with the bat who kept Lancashire in with a shout of the title through his 154 against Durham; now it was the ball that did the work.
He produced a hostile spell after tea, having Sean Ervine caught at point and quickly bouncing out Nic Pothas. Greg Lamb was trapped in front but Cork had Nathan Astle's reflexes at first slip to thank for Crawley's wicket. The batsman tried to guide the ball over the slips, but Astle stuck up his right hand and plucked the ball out of the air. Inevitably Warne bullied his way to a rapid 30 but he was soon back out on the field when Chilton decided against the follow-on.
His decision not to ask Hampshire to bat again may appear perplexing with Lancashire having to win, but with the prospect of batting last against Warne he opted to build a commanding lead. Chilton won't be part of that plan after falling late in the day and, even though his team are well placed, events at Trent Bridge are set to make the result here incidental.