Lancashire 201 (Livingstone 69, Parnell 5-47) and 127 for 4 (Vilas 60*) beat Worcestershire 172 (Parnell 63, Anderson 5-25) and 154 (Gleeson 5-37) by six wickets

Lancashire secured a hard fought six-wicket victory over promotion rivals Worcestershire midway through the third afternoon to leapfrog them to the top of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two table.

Chasing 126 on a challenging Emirates Old Trafford surface, Lancashire slipped to 32 for 4 before lunch, only to recover through their captain Dane Vilas and fifth-wicket partner Rob Jones, who shared an unbroken stand of 95 inside 30 overs. Vilas led the way with 60 not out off 89 balls, while Jones finished unbeaten on 31. It means their 20-point win is their third on the spin to start 2019.

It is the first time they have won their first three Championship matches in a campaign since 1995 and the days of Mike Atherton and Wasim Akram when they beat Durham and Warwickshire here and Middlesex at Lord's.

For Worcestershire, who had to do without Wayne Parnell - who has a hamstring injury - in Lancashire's chase, this was a first defeat after two victories. But they certainly did not make it easy for their hosts.

Worcestershire's second innings was wrapped up in the morning's fourth over, for the addition of only five more runs to an overnight 149 for 9, in front of 1,500 children for Schools' Open Day.

Richard Gleeson had Joe Leach caught by James Anderson at mid-off following a miscue to secure his third five-wicket haul in four innings. Having claimed five wickets in each innings of the home victory against Northamptonshire last week, he finished with figures of 5 for 37 from 17.2 overs.

While Gleeson claimed six wickets in the match, England's Anderson picked up seven - five in the first innings and two in the second - to make it a successful return from a week out with a knee injury. Sixteen years ago to the day, Anderson made his Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord's.

Lancashire were rocked early in their chase. Captain Leach struck twice with the new ball, adding to a wicket apiece for Charlie Morris and Ed Barnard.

Morris made the initial breakthrough when he had Haseeb Hameed caught at first slip by Riki Wessels with the 12th ball of the innings before Barnard trapped Jake Lehmann lbw as the score fell to 30 for 2 in the 10th over.

Leach then struck twice in as many balls in the 13th over to set nerves jangling in the home dressing room. He forced Keaton Jennings to play on and had Liam Livingstone caught by Wessels for a golden duck.

Vilas and Jones took the score to 59 for 4 at lunch before snuffing out Worcestershire's chances afterwards with more calm and composed batting.

When Vilas clipped Leach through mid-wicket for four to move into the thirties, he brought up a half-century stand inside 20 overs and took the score to 82 for 4 with 44 more needed.

The visitors added far more to this fixture than their haul of three points suggests and will remain confident of keeping pace with Lancashire in pursuit of a top-three finish for promotion.

Parnell was probably the game's standout performer with wickets and runs. He initially brought Worcestershire back into the game from 38 for 7 in the first innings, scoring 63. He then took 5 for 47 with the ball and scored another 25 in the second innings.

When Vilas reached his fifty off 73 balls driving Barnard back down the ground for four - his seventh, Lancashire only needed 19. Jones later hit the winning runs.