|LV= County Championship Division One, Emirates Old Trafford|
|Close, day three: Lancashire 650-6 dec, Northants 180 and 231-8|
|Lancashire 7 pts, Northants 1 pt|
Lancashire were left on the brink of victory as Northants survived to take the game into the final day.
Tom Smith (4-26) took two of the wickets, Glen Chapple (5-51) getting the other, as Northants were bowled out for 180 and followed on, needing 470 to make Lancashire bat again.
Captain Stephen Peters (41) and ex-skipper Andrew Hall helped Northants avoid defeat, closing on 231-8.
But, with Smith (3-56) again among the wickets, Lancashire remain favourites.
Assuming the weather holds, with Northants still trailing by 239 going into the final day, Lancashire should take the two wickets they need to wrap up their second victory of the summer.
Lancashire stood eighth in the table, 15 points adrift of safety, going into this match, having won just once in nine games.
But Northants, rooted to the bottom of Division One, still look like suffering a seventh defeat in eight matches.