Livingstone and Parry put Lancs on the verge of victory
Liam Livingstone with a career-best 6-52 and Stephen Parry with 4-59 combined to give Lancashire a great chance of victory after three days of this Specsavers County Championship match that will decide who finishes as runners-up.
Having bowled Surrey out for 268 in their second innings, Livingstone, Alex Davies and Rob Jones then steered the Red Rose to within 44 runs of their target before bad light halted play at 4.50pm before rain then saw play abandoned.
Lancashire will start tomorrow on 132-3 with Livingstone 51 not out accompanied by Shivnarine Chanderpaul on 14 not out.
The story of the day belonged to Lancashire spinners Livingstone and Parry who produced a marvellous performance to turn Red Rose fortunes around after Surrey’s opening batsmen Mark Stoneman and Rory Burns had dominated the first hour of the day.
Resuming on 79-0, the pair added 75 runs in 16 overs with several fours struck to the vacant third man boundary as Lancashire kept attacking fields.
Stoneman had played the more aggressive role and looked destined to reach three figures, but he was the first wicket to fall after edging Livingstone to Dane Vilas at slip for 98 from just 113 balls.
That proved to be the first of four wickets to fall in 12 balls for the addition of 6 runs as once again this unpredictable match took another twist.
Burns was lbw to Parry for 45, Scott Borthwick edged Livingstone to Vilas at slip for 4 and Ben Foakes turned his first ball from Livingstone to a diving Parry at short mid-wicket.
By then Kumar Sangakkara, playing his final first-class innings and once again warmly greeted to the crease by both players and crowd, soon found himself the central to the visitors’ hopes of a setting Lancashire a defendable target.
The Sri Lankan could do nothing but watch though as three more wickets fell in quick succession.
Ollie Pope tried to attack Livingstone but only skied the ball out to Saqib Mahmood at deep square leg having made 3, Sam Curran was beaten by a beautiful turning delivery from Parry to be out first ball and Rikki Clarke, having thumped one six past the Pavilion and into the car park, was lbw to Livingstone for 13 from the last ball before lunch with Surrey 197-7 and 130 runs ahead.
The visitors rebuilt after the break with Sangakkara finally getting good support from skipper Gareth Batty. The pair added 44 runs for the eighth wicket with Batty scoring 33 of them including two sixes.
Having hit Livingstone into the stands at mid-on, Batty perished attempting to repeat the shot from the next delivery but instead skied a catch back to the bowler, and that dismissal heralded the end of the innings.
It was Parry who wrapped things up, bowling Stuart Meaker first ball and two balls later trapping Jade Dernbach lbw to end the visitors’ innings on 268 with Sangakkara stranded on 35 not out.
Incredibly ten wickets had fallen for 88 runs inside 30 overs following an opening partnership of 154.
It meant Lancashire needed 176 to win and Davies with a typically forthright innings of 30 got the Red Rose reply off to a flying start, hitting seven fours before falling lbw to Clarke.
Jones went on to make a useful 35 and give solid support to Livingstone who struck seven fours and reached his half century with a six off Borthwick over long-on.
There was a slight wobble when Jones was caught by Meaker at deep mid-wicket off Batty and Steven Croft was unlucky when a short delivery from Clarke hit his glove, looped up over his shoulder and fell onto the wickets to bowl the Lancashire skipper for a duck with the score then 92-3 with 84 runs required.
Livingstone, well supported by Chanderpaul, settled any nerves and will return tomorrow morning looking to clinch a fifth win of the season.
“After the first hour we thought we were looking at a long day in the field,” admitted Livingstone.
“But we managed to turn it around, and it is exciting going into tomorrow now.”
And Lancashire’s six-wicket hero revealed he didn’t even expect to bowl today.
“I didn't bowl in the warm-ups this morning,” he said. “I just expected to be stood in the field watching Pazza and Matt Parkinson take the wickets.
“But it was one of those days that things happened quite quickly.
“I was having a laugh with Jarv at the start of the day wondering if I would get a five-wicket haul before I retire, and he was talking about getting a hundred. It's just down to him now!”
It was Livingstone who broke the big opening partnership built by the Surrey openers and he said: “It was easier for me against the left-handers because there was a bit of rough.
“We came on to try and shut it down and stop them scoring.
“It was one of those weird days, when you lost one wicket you could lose five or six and it is up to us tomorrow to stop that happening and get the runs we need.
“We are in a good position, but they were in a good position at 154-0 so we won't be taking anything for granted.
“We have a big job in the morning and, hopefully, we can finish the season on a high and get what we deserve.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh