Lancashire and Worcestershire are likely to begin their return to Division Two of the LV= County Championship with an opening round draw at Emirates Old Trafford following more rain on day three.

After the loss of 39 overs on day two, another 23 were lost from mid-afternoon onwards today with Lancashire still in their first innings on 250 for three from 92 overs in reply to 334.

The hosts had the better of day three thanks in the main to half-centuries from openers Luke Procter and Paul Horton.

The pair looked comfortable at the crease and the dismissals of Procter and Horton for 53 and 66 respectively can be put down to a batsman error. But run-scoring has not been easy on a placid Old Trafford wicket throughout the match.

Worcester scored at a run-rate of 2.53 per over through their 131.4 overs and Lancashire have gone at 2.72.

Lancashire could try to force a win by batting until the 110th over on day four to pick up their batting bonus points before declaring. They would then have to bowl Worcester out cheaply in their second innings and knock off the runs required later in the day.

All-rounder Procter and Horton started Lancashire's first innings with 19 overs of day two remaining and went on to share 97 in 41 overs before the former was undone by a Chris Russell delivery that stopped in the pitch. The left-hander could only prod it to mid-on.

It came just two balls after Procter, particularly strong on the drive, had brought up a 116-ball half-century by whipping Russell over long-leg for six to follow his four wickets with the ball.

The pair's alliance was only Lancashire's fourth opening stand of 50 or more in the last 26 Championship innings.

Horton, who stubbornly moved to a 179-ball fifty, and Karl Brown (34) then added 70 inside 29 overs for the second wicket before the former lost concentration and ran himself out when a century was there for the taking.

He played a Russell delivery to Neil Pinner at cover and set off down the pitch for a single before being correctly sent back by Brown.

Play restarted at 5.20pm following just over two hours of rain and Brown was Lancashire's third wicket to fall when he edged Alan Richardson to Moeen Ali at first slip, leaving the score at 179 for three in the 77th over.

Ashwell Prince (34) and Simon Katich (25) will resume day four in the midst of a fourth-wicket stand of 71.