Lancs fight back after Somerset post big total
A century by Peter Trego in a record breaking eighth wicket partnership with Ryan Davies put Somerset firmly in charge at the halfway point of this Specsavers County Championship match.
The visitors posted a huge total of 553-8 declared before Lancashire fought back to be 138-2 by the close of the second day.
Both Trego and Davies made career best scores, 154 not out and 86 respectively to dominate the morning and early afternoon sessions after Somerset resumed on 339-7 in their first innings.
Initially the pair rode their luck at the start of the day with a couple of edges just going wide of the slip cordon, while Kyle Jarvis and Tom Bailey also beat the bat with regularity during the early exchanges.
Having successfully negotiated that passage of play, the Somerset duo went on to play some tremendous shots in a record-breaking partnership to put the visitors firmly in charge.
For the second morning in succession Lancashire failed to take a wicket, a worrying sign itself, but that takes nothing away from Trego and Davies who played with increasing freedom throughout the latter part of the morning and then into the afternoon.
Trego reached his half century from the third ball of the day, his 43rd delivery faced and his century took 101 balls with 16 fours while his 150 arrived from 156 balls. It was a fine counter attacking innings.
By comparison Davies took a sedate 94 balls to reach his fifty in support of his more adventurous partner, but the wicketkeeper also went on the attack, hooking Jordan Clark for six over fine leg soon after reaching his fifty, and he went on to make 86 before playing on to give Bailey his fifth wicket of the innings.
Their partnership of 236 was three short of the highest 8th wicket partnership by any team against Lancashire, but it is both a Somerset record against any opposition and a record for the 8th wicket in Lancashire-Somerset games. For good measure it is also the first time there has been an eighth wicket partnership of 200 or more at Emirates Old Trafford in first-class cricket.
After the departure of Davies, Somerset added 30 runs in four overs with Tim Groenewald hitting 17 off 15 balls before declaring on 553-8 half an hour after lunch.
Luke Procter had been off the field after lunch after feeling unwell, and that forced Lancashire in to a change with Haseeb Hameed accompanied by Rob Jones at the start of the Red Rose innings.
The pairing of a 19-year old and 20-year old must make it one of the youngest opening partnerships in Lancashire’s history, but the young duo batted with great assurance either side of tea. Hameed continues to delight, with one shot off the back foot square of cover catching the eye, while Jones in his second Championship game played some nice shots of his own while lending Hameed good support.
The pair took 95 balls to reach the 50-run mark which became 59-0 by tea and Hameed went on to reach his half century from 87 balls when a quickly run single turned into five runs following overthrows.
It was the 11th time in 23 innings that Hameed has gone past fifty but his stay at the crease ended soon afterwards when he edged Groenewald to wicketkeeper Davies after making 56 to take his season tally to 1,129 runs and leave Lancashire on 87-1.
Jones continued to play some attractive drives before his innings of 34 came to an unfortunate end after his sharply struck drive was picked up by the bowler Groenewald who threw the stumps down with the batsman out of his ground.
It was a smart piece of fielding by the Somerset bowler that put Lancashire on 96-2 and a third wicket nearly followed immediately when Somerset skipper Chris Rogers grassed a chance at mid-off after Alviro Petersen drove at Groenewald in the following over.
Petersen and Livingstone successfully steered their way through the remaining 16 overs of the day with Petersen reaching 1,000 first-class runs for the season when he reached 24.
By the close the pair had put on 42 for the third wicket to leave Lancashire on 138-2 with Petersen on 25 and Livingstone 20, still 415 runs behind Somerset and with a lot of work to do tomorrow.
“This morning was pretty tough, they batted well to be fair, and we’ve fought back well,” said Rob Jones.
“We’ve just got to bat on all day tomorrow. We’ve got to look at it in small sessions, not look too far ahead and break it down, session by session and even ball by ball. Take it one step at a time.
“We got to scrap hard. Aim to get up towards their total if we can and see where the game goes from there.”
This was Jones’ home debut following his first game at the Oval last week and he said: “I love playing for Lancashire and it was such a special feeling stepping out for my home debut.
“It’s a challenge (playing first team cricket). It’s competitive, more than I’ve been used to before, but you’ve got to rise up to that, stick your chest out and take it on. Do it your way and give it a really good crack.
“The lads have been great. It’s more pressure, that’s the way that first team cricket is but it’s great and hopefully I’m in this environment more as I get a bit older.
When gaining selection, it’s probably fair that opening the batting hadn’t been on Jones’ mind!
“It’s a good opportunity for me,” he conceded. “Proccy has been ill today so when Ashley Giles asked me if I wanted to open the batting I bit his hand off. I don’t mind getting stuck in.
“I was a bit unlucky to get (run) out,” he added, “but it was a great piece of fielding. Fair play to him (Groenewald). I thought I’d got it past him. I suppose the moral is don’t run to the bowler!
This is a fairly youthful side with six players having played less than twenty Championship games and Jones said, “We’ve got a great young squad at the moment. It’s exciting times. We’ve just got to keep working hard and keep honing our skills.
“Toby (Lester) has bowled brilliantly in the twos and has got an opportunity, I’ve got runs in the twos this year, and (the selection of) Livvy and Has shows that Ash backs youngsters which is brilliant.
Photo© Simon Pendrigh