LANCASHIRE ripped through the Surrey top order to leave the county champions facing an uphill battle to avoid a first defeat of the season.
In reply to the home team’s 512 in which Keaton Jennings was out for 199 and George Balderson fell three short of a maiden first-class hundred, Surrey lost three wickets for one run to slip to 38-3.
The weather had the players on and off field during the afternoon and evening sessions, but Lancashire chipped away with a couple more to leave the visitors in trouble at 123-5.
Only number five, Cameron Steel, showed any real resistance as he ended on 29 not out from 106 balls on a tough batting day.
It is a very unfamiliar position for Surrey to find themselves in from a campaign in which they have won eight and drawn five of their 13 matches.
The day had begun with Jennings only needing 10 more runs to reach his third score of 200 or more of the season after previous efforts of 238 versus Yorkshire and 318 against Somerset.
Instead, he fell one short after he went lbw to a Jamie Overton ball which struck him on the foot – the third Lancashire batter to make 199 after Alan Wharton and Michael Atherton.
From there, the question was whether the lower order could stick around long enough to help Balderson reach his ton.
He passed his previous highest score of 77 but lost partners at the other end and the sight of number 11 Matt Parkinson arriving at the crease forced him to dance down the wicket to Dan Moriarty and be caught in the deep as the left-arm spinner finished with 5-163.
Surrey’s openers had started well but they were rocked by losing three wickets for one run in 15 deliveries.
Ryan Patel was caught at second slip off Tom Bailey for 19, Rory Burns was bowled by Will Williams for 18 and Bailey had Jamie Smith trapped lbw for one.
Hashim Amla made it to 29 and was starting to find his groove before he was removed by a fine delivery from Balderson, before Williams produced the ball of the day late on to knock over two of Tom Curran’s stumps.
With a deficit of 389 runs, Surrey will have to battle hard to avoid defeat before they are handed the Championship trophy at the end of this game. (BBC Sport)