Warwickshire 254 and 52 for 2 v Lancashire 253 and 319
Sajid Mahmood and Glen Chapple shared a 10th-wicket partnership of 77 inside 12 overs to help Lancashire set Warwickshire a daunting 319 for victory in their County Championship match at Old Trafford.
Former England Test No. 8 Mahmood recorded his first half-century for Lancashire since 2005 and Chapple (53 not out) reached his second of this Division One fixture to boost the hosts to a second-innings total of 319.
Mahmood then added the prized wicket of England batsman Ian Bell, lbw for 9, and Tom Smith trapped Jonathan Trott in front for six as Warwickshire slumped to 34 for 3 in their chase. They closed day three on 52 for 3 from 29 overs, requiring a further 267 runs for victory.
Mahmood, 28, went through a purple patch of scoring seven boundaries in ten balls on his way to 52 off 41 as he took a liking to leg-spinner Imran Tahir and England Lions colleague Chris Woakes.
Lancashire had slumped to 113 for 6 early this morning as Neil Carter got rid of Stephen Moore, Ashwell Prince and nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson. On each of the three days at Old Trafford, wickets have tumbled in the first hour due to prodigious movement through the air and off the pitch.
Carter, who finished with an impressive 5 for 79 from 26 overs, trapped Moore lbw, had Prince caught in the slips by Bell and re-arranged Anderson's stumps, while Woakes also had Mark Chilton caught behind by Tim Ambrose.
Steven Croft also added his second fifty of the match and top-scored with 56 off 94 balls as he helped the hosts recover to 192 for 6 thanks to a seventh-wicket partnership of 84 with Luke Sutton (33). All-rounder Croft fell when he tried to uppercut Carter over third man but only found Trott on the boundary, before Sutton edged Naqaash Tahir to the same fielder in the slips.
When Simon Kerrigan was trapped lbw by Imran the game was well and truly in the balance at 242 for 9 in the 80th. After all, Warwickshire had gained a first-innings lead of only one run. But the Bears were frustrated as Mahmood reached his half-century in 38 balls, which also included a straight six off Imran, and Chapple added an unbeaten effort off 79 balls.
Mahmood hit a total of nine fours and that maximum while Chapple thumped four fours and a six. The former was the last man out when caught at short leg by Varun Chopra off Imran.
Former Essex man Chopra was soon in the action again as the first man out in Warwickshire's second innings when he was trapped lbw by Chapple in the sixth over for six. And Lancashire knew they were on top when man of the moment Mahmood and Smith got key duo Bell and Trott before the 22nd over was up.
Ian Westwood (24 not out) and Jim Troughton simply have to navigate tomorrow's first hour if their side are to play any part in the match.