Tim Bresnan re-ignited Yorkshire’s hopes of claiming an amazing victory in the Roses match by grabbing three early wickets on an absorbing third day at Headingley.
Having been dismissed for 243 to concede an 82-runs first innings deficit, Yorkshire appeared out of the contest only for England all-rounder Bresnan to claim three wickets, including two in the same over, to leave Lancashire struggling on 31 for three, leading by just 113 runs.
When bad light halted play with 17 overs remaining, Lancashire had recovered to reach 48 for three, earning them a 130-run lead, but Yorkshire will remain hopeful of putting them under pressure on the final day, providing forecasts of bad weather do not materialise.
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale had been a key figure in ensuring Lancashire did not take greater control of the match, scoring an unbeaten 95 after his side resumed the third morning trailing by 296 runs on 29 without loss.
Having come through the first half hour’s play unscathed in bright sunshine, Lancashire began to make inroads with seven wickets falling in the afternoon session.
But Yorkshire’s predicament could have been even worse had Gale, who hit 13 fours during his innings, not been recalled by the umpires on 25 after being initially given out for a catch behind down the leg-side off Glen Chapple.
As Gale walked off, umpire Peter Willey consulted with Ian Gould, his colleague at square leg, and recalled him but it did not prevent Yorkshire losing seven wickets in the afternoon session, with all-rounder Tom Smith finishing with five for 49.
Yorkshire lost five wickets in 16 overs at one stage when Ryan Sidebottom, unable to bowl after lunch yesterday after suffering a left hamstring twinge, joined Gale at the crease.
Sidebottom denied Lancashire for 40 minutes, adding 38 precious runs for the ninth wicket with Gale, before clipping Simon Kerrigan to mid-wicket and Chapple ended the innings by taking a return catch to dismiss Jack Brooks.
Bresnan immediately brought the momentum back in Yorkshire’s direction, having opener Paul Horton caught at second slip by Adam Lyth and then winning an lbw appeal against Karl Brown four balls later.
Luis Reece fell in identical fashion six overs later to leave Lancashire in trouble, but Steven Croft and Tom Smith survived the next six overs before umpires Peter Willey and Ian Gould called a halt for bad light.