Jack White was the pick of Northamptonshire’s bowlers but a trio of centuries put Lancashire on top on Day 3.
Despite losing the morning session to rain, the home side scored 377 runs off 67 overs in two brutal sessions and were 498 for seven at the close, giving them a lead of 156.
Jack White and the skipper, Luke Procter, both bowled tightly but the other bowlers were under consistent pressure and Northamptonshire were left to rue missed chances.
When he had made 78, Wells slog-swept Russell to the deep square-leg boundary, where Whiteman did well to hang on over his head but had to throw the ball back into play to prevent a six with no-one there to take the relay catch.
Wicketkeeper Lewis McManus couldn’t hold on to an edge off Wells that spat out of the footmarks when the opener was on 85. Yorkshire loanee Dominic Leech was the unfortunate bowler on that occasion and the reprieve only seemed to inspire the batsman, who reached his first century of the season off 171 balls with a leg glance off James Sales.
Having put on 142 in 31 overs with Bohannon, Wells was finally dismissed for 119 when he edged a booming drive off Jack White and Ricardo Vasconcelos took the catch at first slip. That, however, only brought Phil Salt to the crease and his arrival sparked an increase in the already healthy run-rate.
The former Sussex batsman put on 126 in 19 overs with Bohannon, who was eventually dismissed for 128, when Vasconcelos dived from first slip to a take a superb catch to his right off White. However Salt reached his century off 74 balls with his second straight six off Leech before being caught on the deep square-leg boundary for 105 by James Sales, also off White.
Northamptonshire took three more wickets and gained a second bowling point in the half hour before the close when George Bell was caught on the deep square-leg boundary by Vasconcelos off Zaib for 15, Steven Croft edged his former colleague Procter to an eyecatching low catch by McManus for 27 and the captain also had Bailey caught at midwicket by Justin Broad for six
But by then Lancashire’s lead was over a hundred and the shape of a final day in which the visitors will have to bat to save the game was set.