Red Rose rocked after Anderson five
England fast bowler James Anderson recovered from illness and injury to claim 5-82 for Lancashire at Old Trafford, but another abject batting display from the hosts put Nottinghamshire in total control at the end of day three.
Chris Read’s men reduced their opponents to 39 for five after being bowled out for 304 in their second innings to set a stiff victory target of 328.
Stuart Broad - another member of England’s pace attack - picked up two wickets in an accurate new-ball spell, while Andre Adams, who returned 7-32 in the first innings, also struck twice.
Bad light ended play 21 overs early to deny Nottinghamshire the opportunity of completing victory inside three days.
However, after storming to a memorable LV= County Championship title triumph last summer, an off-colour Lancashire appeared almost certain to register a third defeat in four games. They trailed by 289 heading into the fourth and final day.
Nottinghamshire's evening breakthroughs followed half-centuries from Michael Lumb and Read.
Their second-innings total would have been larger had Anderson not dismissed four of the last five batsmen as Notts lost their last six wickets for 39 runs.
While the Burnley-born seamer enjoyed catching Broad off Simon Kerrigan, he probably derived greater satisfaction from exacting his revenge on Graeme Swann, whom he bowled for 12.
Anderson also had reason to be grateful to his opponents after confusion over when he would be allowed to bowl after his illness on Thursday had been resolved by a compromise which only delayed his participation by 11 minutes.
Nottinghamshire's early dominance was firmly established by two vital partnerships between their middle-order batsmen. The most productive of these was a 100-run stand for the fifth wicket between James Taylor and his skipper Read, but Lumb, who made 62, and Samit Patel did much of the hard work in a testing morning session by putting on 76 for the third wicket.
Paul Horton compounded Lancashire's problems by dropping both Taylor and Read after lunch.
By mid-afternoon, when Taylor had been caught down the leg side off Kerrigan for 46 and Read had been brilliantly taken by Gareth Cross off Anderson for 54, Nottinghamshire's lead was already a formidable 312.
Anderson quickly added the wicket of Paul Franks and returned after a rain break to take a hand in the dismissals of his England team-mates as Nottinghamshire suffered a collapse which should have little impact on the outcome of the match.
Broad removed Horton for a second-ball duck and Karl Brown for seven when Lancashire batted for a second time, while Adams accounted for Stephen Moore and Steven Croft either side of Swann having Ashwell Prince caught at slip for 14 in his first over.