Lancashire took seven wickets after tea on the third day of their Specsavers County Championship clash with Surrey to set up a potential final-day victory push.
Surrey closed on 231-9, still requiring 59 runs to avoid the follow-on, in reply to Lancashire’s 439-9dec after a superb ninth-wicket century stand between Joe Mennie and Tom Bailey nudged Lancashire into the ascendancy.
Batting seemed to have become easier in the afternoon, but Lancashire delivered a telling final session, as Surrey collapsed from 120-2 at Tea, to give the hosts an opportunity to push for victory on day four.
Resuming with Lancashire 352-8, Mennie and Bailey passed the record ninth-wicket stand for the Red Rose against Surrey of 96 – which was recorded by Alex Watson and John Crossland in 1882.
They would take the partnership past 101 – Ian Grieg & Nick Kendrick’s record ninth-wicket stand for either side in this fixture from 1990 – and were rattling Lancashire’s total on with a flurry of strokes.
Both made a half-century, a second successive fifty for Australian Mennie but only the eighth of his first-class career. Bailey would post a first-class best of 66 but fell trying to launch Amar Virdi over the ropes, succeeding only in picking out Matt Dunn in the deep.
That wicket brought about Lancashire’s declaration at 439-9. Between them, Mennie and Bailey added 87 runs in 89 balls on the third morning, taking their partnership to 118 with Mennie unbeaten on 68.
All eyes then turned to Mark Stoneman, the incumbent England opener searching for runs after a disappointing match against Hampshire.
But he was to go without scoring, undone by former Durham teammate Graham Onions, who bowled Stoneman round his legs.
That left Surrey 2-1 but skipper Rory Burns and Scott Borthwick guided the visitors to 49-1 at lunch. They passed their 50 partnership in the 16th over of the innings, before Borthwick brought up his own half-century with a glorious back-foot drive off Joe Mennie.
Just the one wicket fell in a slow afternoon session, with only 71 runs added in 33 overs. Burns was that wicket, departing for 28 attempting an expansive drive and edging Bailey through to Alex Davies.
Borthwick remained unbeaten on 75 at Tea with Surrey 120-2, but added just four more before becoming another snared by former Durham teammate Onions, again Davies with the catch.
Dean Elgar helped Surrey pass 150, but he pushed at a wide one from Bailey and it was taken by Dane Vilas – who replaced Davies with the gloves after the Englishman injured his right hand.
Lancashire really seized the initiative in the final hour of play, as Ben Foakes and Sam Curran fell lbw to Jordan Clark and Liam Livingstone respectively.
Bailey then bowled last week’s century-maker Ollie Pope with the first delivery after taking the new ball.
The seamer would also dismiss Jade Dernbach, before Onions grabbed his third by trapping Dunn for one, meaning Surrey had lost 5-29 in 14.1 overs to give Lancashire hope heading into day four.