Lancashire 145 (Henry 5-45, Saini 3-63) and 377 for 5 (Bohannon 134, Wells 98, Jones 53*) lead Kent 270 (Leaning 90, Stewart 64, Denly 59, Bailey 6-64) by 252 runs

A century from Josh Bohannon and 98 from Luke Wells were the highlights of an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes for Lancashire on day three of their LV=Insurance Division One clash with Kent at Emirates Old Trafford.

The opening two days had seen wickets tumble on a regular basis with the hosts beginning their second innings late on Tuesday evening 125 runs behind Kent’s total of 270 and seemingly right up against it on a used pitch which has proved helpful to both teams’ seam bowlers.

But in total contrast to what had gone previously just five wickets fell throughout the day as Wells and Bohannon put Lancashire in a position to potentially win, going into the final day with a lead of 252 runs and five wickets in hand after they closed on 377 for 5.

Resuming on 2 for 0, batting instantly looked easier for Wells and fellow opener Keaton Jennings with both Matt Henry and Navdeep Saini lacking the bite and accuracy they had enjoyed during Lancashire’s first innings.

The opening pair had built a partnership of 54 off 14 overs and it was something of a surprise when Nathan Gilchrist made the breakthrough tempting Jennings to edge stiffly to stand in captain Jack Leaning at second slip for 14.

The wicket brought Bolton-born Bohannon to the crease and with both he and Wells enjoying recent centuries, the stage was set for a partnership that could define the match, should Lancashire somehow prevail.

Wells took the role of aggressor, moving to 50 for the fifth time in the Championship this season from 69 balls including five fours and so effective was the partnership, that Leaning was forced to turn to the part-time bowlers Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond as his side’s lead began to disappear.

Wells and Bohannon continued to score freely after lunch with the latter’s innings full of his trademark pushes through mid-on as Kent began to look increasingly ragged as the afternoon wore on.

Bohannon had just reached his half-century when Wells fell agonisingly short of a 22nd first class ton when he edged Saini to a diving Leaning at second slip as the second-wicket partnership ended on 117.

Despite the breakthrough there was little respite for Kent as Steven Croft joined Bohannon who was reminding everyone why earlier in the season he was being tipped by many to play for England’s Test side this summer.

Lancashire had built a lead of 139 when the 25-year-old brought up his sixth first class century and third of the season off 186 balls with 14 fours with the vital knock coming straight after his match-winning hundred at Northampton last week.

Croft, captaining the side due to Dane Vilas’ injured finger, was happy to play second fiddle to Bohannon and the pair had compiled a partnership of 109 for the third wicket when Henry got a delivery to jag back and bowl Croft for a patient 42.

Rob Jones was next to enter the fray and he and Bohannon looked to up the scoring rate against a beleaguered attack that was becoming increasingly reliant on Bell Drummond’s accuracy rather than Saini’s waywardness.

Bohannon eventually fell for 134, feathering a delivery from Grant Stewart to replacement wicket keeper Ollie Robinson by which time the lead was 228 and showing no sign of slowing down with the only respite coming when Leaning trapped Washington Sundar lbw for 10 just before the close.

There was just time for Jones to reach his half-century from 73 balls and with the incoming George Lavelle unbeaten on three, Lancashire will look to bat on tomorrow morning before a positive declaration.