Lancs rally in battle of top two against Durham
|LV County Championship Division One, Liverpool|
|Close, day two: Lancashire 84 & 282, Durham 186 & 27-3|
|Lancashire 3pts, Durham 3pts|
Lancashire rallied in the battle of the top two at Aigburth as they set up an exciting finish to their meeting with County Championship leaders Durham.
After resuming on 4-0, still 98 runs adrift after being shot out for just 84 on day one, Lancashire did much better second time around, posting 282.
Paul Horton hit 64 and Luke Procter made 52 to set Durham 181 to win.
But Kyle Hogg then struck in the 10 overs possible before the close as Durham ended the day faltering on 27-3.
Onions, who took 4-74 in Lancashire's second innings, Steve Harmison and Callum Thorp, who took six wickets in the first innings, were made to work harder for their wickets throughout the second day because, as expected, batting conditions eased.
But, when Durham batted again, after the loss of Michael di Venuto and Gordon Muchall, Saj Mahmood then removed nightwatchman Graham Onions, brilliantly caught at third slip by Steven Croft.
In a match now almost certain to be completed inside three days, weather permitting, Durham will resume needing a further 154 to win with seven second innings wickets standing.
A Durham win would extend their lead at the top of Division One to 23 points.
But much may now depend on whether the Liverpool weather continues to offer movement in the air when Will Smith and Paul Collingwood resume at the start of day three - with first-inning's hero Dale Benkenstein next man in.
Day two was not quite as action-packed as Monday's first day, when 20 wickets fell, but 13 still went down. And, although Durham are still favourites, Lancashire do at least now have some cause for hope after Hogg's efforts with the new ball.
CLOSE OF PLAY SUMMARY
BBC Radio 5 live's Kevin Howells:
"Quietly confident is how Graham Onions described Durham's position at the end of the second day.
"Experienced men like Smith, Collingwood, Benkenstein and Blackwell are good reasons to back yourselves but the big unknown is how much will the ball swing on the third morning.
"Lancashire got it to do so again to cause all the excitement in the last 10 overs of the second day and, if conditions are either cloudy or humid first thing tomorrow, it will be a tough test.
"Just looking at the batting points Durham have gained this season, they are miles in front but chasing is a different proposition. Luke Proctor's 52 could yet be vital, along with Paul Horton's half century."