County Championship: Lancashire & Durham finely poised at Sedbergh School
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Sedbergh School (day three):|
|Lancashire 337: Vilas 72 & 204-7: Vilas 74*, Croft 35|
|Durham 281: Bancroft 77, Rimmington 53; Onions 5-93|
|Lancashire (6 pts) lead Durham (4 pts) by 260 runs|
Durham fought back well on day three to leave all three results still possible against a Lancashire side who lost England's James Anderson to injury.
Graham Onions finished with 5-93 as Durham's first innings ended on 281.
That gave Lancashire a 56-run lead, but Chris Rushworth removed England duo Keaton Jennings and Haseeb Hameed in the first over to leave the hosts 0-2 and they closed 260 ahead, on 204-7.
Rushworth's two wickets equalled former England paceman Steve Harmison's county record haul of 458 first-class wickets for Durham.
After slumping to 59-5, captain Dane Vilas (74 not out) registered his second half-century of the match, sharing a key 87-run stand with former skipper Steven Croft (35).
That gives Lancashire a decent target to defend on day four - even without the services of their star bowler Anderson.
The 36-year-old, who claimed his 950th first-class wicket on Monday, managed to bowl only eight balls on his first spell on day three before being forced to leave the field because of injury.
Lancs assistant head coach Mark Chilton told BBC Radio Lancashire:
"It feels like a fair contest between bat and ball. It's set up really nicely. Both sides have played some good battling cricket.
"A couple of people have been hit on the gloves and Steven Croft's wicket seemed to keep low so there is a bit of variable bounce but you'd expect that on day four of a wicket. It's nothing untoward.
"It's been a fantastic knock from the captain to put us in with a sniff but the game is probably in the balance.
"Liam Livingstone will come into the game at some point and the pitch is wearing all the time so he'll have an important job to do."
Durham all-rounder Nathan Rimmington told BBC Radio Newcastle:
"It's good to be back in the team contribute. I've been bowling well for the second team. I thought I would mainly have a white ball focus this year but we've had a few guys go down and I'm always ready to take my opportunity with the red ball.
"Unfortunately we fell away at the end of innings but we struck back with the ball and we've given ourselves a chance. A few of their boys might be tired so we can cash in and win the game late.
"The odd ball has gone up and down but there's still runs to be had and if you can get those demons out of your head anything is chaseable.
"It's a lovely ground. You certainly don't get these type of grounds back in Australia - I'm enjoying it and it's beautiful."