Prospects of Play - Day 4
An early lunch has been called at midday due to consistent rain this morning at Emirates Old Trafford.
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Lancashire seamer Tom Bailey took four wickets in seven deliveries with the second new ball to give Red Rose supporters a great deal to cheer on the first day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Somerset at Emirates Old Trafford.
Until Bailey made his dramatic intervention deep in the evening session, Lancashire had been on the receiving end of a Tom Abell master-class, the Somerset opener making a career-best 135 as his side progressed smoothly to 267 for two in a match they may need to win to keep the pressure on Middlesex and Yorkshire at the top of the Division One table.
Then Bailey had both James Hildreth and Jim Allenby caught by Alviro Petersen at second slip before cramping Abell for room and having the 22-year-old caught behind by Steven Croft. Lewis Gregory was lbw to his first ball and there was even time in the same dramatic over for Craig Overton to be dropped by Toby Lester, the missed chance denying Bailey his hat-trick in his first game since the Roses match in early June.
Bailey’s three wickets in the over transformed the atmosphere at Old Trafford and Kyle Jarvis added to the home supporters’ unexpected pleasure when he bowled Overton for nine. At that point Somerset had lost five wickets for 20 runs but by the close Somerset were 339 for seven which represents prosperity for the visitors but not the degree of dominance they had threatened for two sessions.
Indeed, they owed their late revival to an unbroken 52-run stand between Peter Trego and Ryan Davies, Trego hitting nine fours in his important 49 not out.
All of which was a long way from the morning session when, after losing the toss and being asked to bat - which is presumably what they wanted to do in the first place – Somerset enjoyed the best of things. True, Marcus Trescothick and Abell played a few false shots against the three frontline Lancashire seamers but the openers also stroked some fine boundaries during a session which was twice interrupted by rain but ended in bright sunshine with the visitors on 69 for no wicket.
Trescothick reached a thousand Championship runs for the season when he cut Toby Lester for four in the 13th over and was 37 not out at lunch. Abell was unbeaten on 32, although he had enjoyed an escape five minutes before the interval when Rob Jones shelled a catch in the gully off Luke Procter.
In the afternoon session Somerset progressed to 182 for one with the only wicket to fall being that of Trescothick who pulled Jordan Clark straight to backward square leg when he had made 60 off 109 balls, only to see Simon Kerrigan take a quite brilliant two-handed catch above his head.
That wicket ended the opening stand of 134 but when the players returned to the pavilion for tea there were still 39 overs left in the day and Abell was unbeaten on 97 and his skipper, Chris Rogers, was on 24 not out.
Abell reached his century, the third of his career, with a straight drive off Luke Procter in the second over after tea. He reached three figures off 185 balls, having his 16 boundaries, most of them of the highest class.
And Somerset’s dominance seemed set to continue, even after Rogers was caught down the leg side by Croft off Jordan Clark for 47, thus ending his 93-run stand with Abell. However, even though Somerset have collected three batting bonus points, the balance of this vital match was rather different at close of play
Lancashire’s batsmen ended the second day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Somerset facing a tough battle to avoid the follow-on after their bowlers had been put to the sword by Peter Trego and
Ryan Davies at Emirates Old Trafford.
Replying to the visitors’ 553 for eight declared, Steven Croft’s batsmen had reached 138 for 2 at stumps. However, they have already lost their youthful openers. Haseeb Hameed was caught behind by Davies off Tim Groenewald when he had made 56, his eleventh Championship score over 50 in 23 innings this season, and Rob Jones was very smartly run out for 34 by the same bowler.
At the close Alviro Petersen was undefeated on 25 and Liam Livingstone was 20 not out, but the follow-on target of 404 was still very distant and Lancashire’s players may already be eyeing Saturday’s dismal weather forecast with relief.
Earlier in the day Somerset’s eighth-wicket pair, Trego and Davies, completely dominated the morning’s play by adding 146 runs in 31 overs to leave their side on 485-7 at lunch.
Trego was undefeated on 121 having reached his second century of the season off 101 balls and having hit 16 fours; Davies was 74 not out, a career-best score, and his stand with Trego was worth 198 at lunch, an eighth-wicket record between the two counties which eclipsed the 163 added by Jeremy Lloyds and Martin Crowe at Bath in 1984.
Lancashire’s bowlers suffered a little ill luck early in the session but they were gradually mastered by the Somerset batsmen. In the afternoon Trego finished on a career-best 154 not out and had put on 236 with Davies before the Somerset wicketkeeper-batsman played on to Tom Bailey for 86.
By then, however, his stand with Trego represented an eighth-wicket record for the county, beating the 217 put on by Roelof van der Merwe and Craig Overton against Hampshire earlier this season. Bailey finished with 5-111 and he was the only Lancashire bowler to take a wicket on the second day.
One of Lancashire’s youngest opening partnerships in recent seasons then made solid progress before Hameed nibbled at a good ball from Groenewald and Jones, having played a straight drive, was run out by a lightning fast pick up and throw from the bowler.
Petersen then had a let off on two when he was dropped by Chris Rogers at mid off, Groenewald being the unlucky bowler, but the ex-South African Test player passed a thousand runs for the season when he reached 24.
Alviro Petersen’s stylish 155 off 255 balls helped Lancashire avoid the follow on against Somerset but the Specsavers County Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford is almost certainly heading for a draw with a slow, unresponsive pitch frequently defying the best efforts of all bowlers on both sides.
Replying to the visitors’ 553-8 declared, Lancashire were 422 for nine at stumps with Tom Bailey on 17 and Toby Lester undefeated on nought after the visitors had survived the loss of three prime wickets for 17 runs soon after tea to reach their primary objective on what was sometimes a slow day.
The first of those wickets was that of Petersen, who inside-edged a catch off Tim Groenewald to Marcus Trescothick at slip, thus ending an innings that had included 17 fours and two sixes.
Next over Steven Croft was caught at slip by Jim Allenby off Jack Leach for 58, and when Luke Procter was lbw to Craig Overton for two, Lancashire were 387 for six. still 17 short of their first target.
However, a nudged four by Tom Bailey off Leach ensured the follow-on was saved and although Lewis Gregory removed Jordan Clark and Kyle Jarvis in successive overs immediately afterwards and later added Simon Kerrigan to his bag, the main issue of the day had been resolved.
Saturday’s dismal weather forecast may bring the game to a rapid conclusion but even a full day’s play would almost certainly not bring a victory for either side. Both teams have taken five points from the game and these returns will be doubled to ten in the event of a draw.
The only wicket to fall in the morning session was that of Liam Livingstone, who was caught behind by Ryan Davies off Jack Leach for 57 when playing a most undistinguished front-foot paddle.
That wicket fell on 213 after just over an hour’s play but Petersen batted through the session in a professional manner and was undefeated on 71 at lunch.
Steven Croft batted at No5 and he added 157 in 50 overs with Petersen, a partnership which almost ensured that the follow on would be saved.
Lancashire lost no wickets in the afternoon session and were 360 for 3 at tea, the last over before which was bowled by the Somerset skipper, Chris Rogers.
During the afternoon session Petersen reached his third hundred of the season with a six off Jack Leach, having faced 170 balls and hit nine fours and two sixes. Lewis Gregory ended the day as the most successful Somerset bowler with three for 74, although Leach and Groenewald, both of whom took two wickets, had done most of the hard work during the third day.