Lancashire have their backs firmly against the wall going into today’s final day against Durham at the Riverside as they look to avoid their first County Championship defeat of the season.

The clash of the top two in Division One has been dominated by Durham, who posted a mammoth 586 all out on a placid pitch in response to Lancashire’s first-day 313.

Lancashire then lost three second innings wickets before close as they reached 69-3 from 25 overs.

Ben Stokes and Dale Benkenstein had hit 185 and 137 as they shared a fourth wicket partnership of 331 inside 84 overs, their club’s second highest partnership ever.

The total was also the ninth highest that Lancashire have conceded in their first-class history, and they have not conceded more since 2004 when Kent scored 615 at Tonbridge Wells. Glen Chapple, Tom Smith, Luke Procter and Gary Keedy all took two wickets for the visitors, who started their second innings just after tea facing a first innings deficit of 273.

Stephen Moore, Karl Brown and Paul Horton all lost their wickets, with Graham Onions striking twice.

Horton missed three catches at first slip and Smith one during the innings. Two of Horton’s were difficult chances off the left-arm spin of Keedy, but the one he put down off Procter yesterday afternoon was easy.