Petersen century steers Lancs towards drawn game
An outstanding innings of 155 by Alviro Petersen, who shared in two century partnerships, led Lancashire’s reply to Somerset’s big total as the Red Rose reached the close of the third day on 422-9 in their first innings, trailing by 131 runs but having safely avoided the follow-on.
That leaves the game looking to be heading towards a draw with one day left in this Specsavers County Championship match in which, save for a five over spell of five wickets on Wednesday afternoon, only 12 further wickets have fallen in three days.
Resuming Lancashire’s first innings on 138-2 today, Petersen and Liam Livingstone batted with positive intent from the start with eight fours and two sixes arriving during the first hour of the day.
Petersen drove the first of those boundaries through the covers off Lewis Gregory to bring up the 50 partnership in the fourth over, and the pair took just 56 more deliveries to post their century partnership.
Both batsmen hit straight sixes off Jack Leach but the left arm spinner struck back when Livingstone edged a sweep to wicketkeeper Ryan Davies to depart for 57, ending a 117-run alliance with Petersen to make the score 213-3.
Steven Croft helped Petersen add 30 runs to that total by lunch, with Somerset taking the new ball four overs before the break, and the Red Rose pair brought up their fifty partnership off 117 balls four overs into the afternoon.
Petersen went to his century with a six over long-on off Leach soon afterwards, his third hundred of the season for Lancashire and his 42nd career century coming from 170 balls with 9 fours and two sixes.
It was precisely the innings Lancashire required in their effort to initially reach the follow-on target of 404 and skipper Croft lent brilliant support through the afternoon in a partnership of 157 across 50.3 overs.
Petersen went on to pass the 150-run landmark for the thirteenth time, looking untroubled throughout before his innings ended on 155 after the South African inside edged a Groenewald delivery onto his pads, the ball going to Marcus Trescothick at first slip.
Croft followed in the next over after scoring 58 but then edging Leach to Jim Allenby at slip to leave Lancashire on 370-5.
Luke Procter, batting at number six after a bout of sickness laid him low yesterday, was lbw to Craig Overton for 2 after battling away for 35 deliveries but Jordan Clark and Tom Bailey eased Lancashire past the follow-on during the final hour of the day.
Gregory enjoyed some late success with three wickets; Clark edging to Davies for 16 with the wicketkeeper making a good diving catch, Kyle Jarvis was bowled for 10 by a good ball that knocked back his off stump, and Simon Kerrigan was brilliantly caught by a diving James Hildreth at square leg for 0.
Bailey (17 not out) and Toby Lester (0 not out) closed the day out with Lancashire finishing on 422-9, behind by 131 runs.
Alviro Petersen was pleased with the team’s response to the big total posted by Somerset in this game.
“We wanted to bat the whole day, because that was the only way we could avoid the follow-on and still try and be in the game and I think we’ve done that,” he said.
“I think Somerset out batted us,” was his honest assessment.
“They made sure that we can’t win the game and when the follow-on is four hundred runs away it’s pretty tough. So we needed a couple of partnerships and we managed to get them. So I think we’ve done pretty well today.”
Building partnerships was the theme of the South African’s post match interview with Petersen adding: “It’s always nice when someone gets a hundred and when you get a couple of big partnerships it does help.
“It’s the sort of wicket that if you get into a partnership, the longer it goes the easier it becomes and the more freely you can score. It’s always difficult for the new batsmen coming in so we are mindful of that.
“We got two partnerships of over a hundred in a row so that was great. Also the top order took responsibility. We’ve relied a bit on our lower order at times to get runs but it’s up to the batters to score runs and today we’ve done that.
“Today I should have scored two hundred but I’m never satisfied, that’s just the way it is. I think the season has gone okay personally but it’s not about personal achievement. It’s about where we are as a team. In this game I think we’ve clawed it back nicely. It’s important now we get a draw out of it.
There was a somewhat different type of celebration when Petersen reached his century, the batsman aiming at kick at the ground, not one of frustration however but at an imaginery football!
“Ashley (Giles) banned football, so we made a deal with him that if I score a hundred we can play football and he agreed to it," he explained.
“So tomorrow morning we are playing football, so that’s what the celebration was, and I’m sure the whole squad are happy about it!