Jos Buttler and Tom Smith's unbroken 114-run stand gave Lancashire the edge on another action-packed day in the LV= County Championship clash against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road
Buttler and Smith's sixth-wicket alliance staved off the type of batting collapse that has plagued the Red Rose’s season thus far and they closed on 244 for five in their second innings – a lead of 199.
Buttler fired an unbeaten 66 from 94 balls, while Smith eased to 44 from 72 deliveries as Lancashire recovered from 130 for five on day two.
Northamptonshire resumed on 133 for eight after a testing first day at the crease that also included Lancashire's first-innings effort of 119.
The hosts were only able to add 31 more runs before they were back in the pavilion, Smith doing the damage.
First he trapped Olly Stone lbw for 15, before removing top-scorer Matthew Spriegel, caught behind by Buttler for a 62 of real substance.
Lancashire's need for early stability was undermined by Luis Reece's departure on the pull for 10 with the visitors on 29.
Muhammad Azhar Ullah forced the breakthrough, Reece trudging back to the pavilion caught by Steven Crook.
Lancashire had only two more runs on the board when Andrew Hall trapped Andrea Agathangelou in front for a duck.
Paul Horton and Ashwell Prince combined in a restorative 78-run stand but both fell within sight of their half-centuries.
Prince was stumped by David Murphy off Hall's bowling for 47 from 89 balls before Luke Procter was run out by Rob Newton without facing a ball.
Horton has been Lancashire’s form batsman during the opening weeks but he could not escape the mini-collapse as Hall claimed another valuable scalp leg before for 48.
At 130 for five Lancashire's second innings and the contest hung in the balance but Buttler and Smith gelled immediately in an impressive counter attack that placed Glen Chapple’s team tentatively in the driving seat.