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Match Preview: Lancashire CCC v Somerset CCC

Match Preview: Lancashire CCC v Somerset CCC

Match Preview: Lancashire CCC v Somerset CCC, Specsavers County Championship

THE MATCH

Lancashire CCC v Somerset CCC
Friday 21 – Monday 24 April
Emirates Old Trafford
Specsavers County Championship

Lancashire have enjoyed a positive start to the season, dominating large parts of their Specsavers County Championship matches against Essex and Surrey.

The Red Rose saw Essex bat out the final day for a draw at Chelmsford in the opening round before making highly-fancied Surrey follow-on at the Kia Oval earlier this week.

But now they will be hoping to emphasise that point with a victory when they return home to Emirates Old Trafford against last season’s title challengers Somerset, starting tomorrow.

If Glen Chapple’s men can secure victory against a Somerset side which lost their opener to Essex at Taunton earlier this week, it will be their first Championship win in 14 outings dating back to an innings and 96-run win over Surrey at Old Trafford last May.

TEAM NEWS

Lancashire welcome back England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson after he was rested from the Surrey draw by the England management.

Anderson will play his second Championship match of the season before featuring in the first three Royal London one-day Cup matches from late next week.

His availability will be re-assessed from there as he builds up to the first Test Match of the summer against South Africa in early July.

The hosts continue to be without captain Steven Croft due to his thumb injury, so Liam Livingstone will lead the side again.

THE OPPONENTS

Somerset went so close to winning their first ever Championship title last year, finishing second behind Middlesex. But, under new captain Tom Abell, they made a losing start to this campaign.

They were beaten at home by Essex, by eight wickets and inside three days, despite claiming a first-innings lead of 80 in a low-scoring encounter.

Somerset, for whom South Africa opener Dean Elgar is their overseas player for the first half of the summer, made 209 before bowling the visitors out for 129.

Ex-Lancashire overseas bowler Neil Wagner then took 6-48 in the second innings to bowl Somerset out for 174, leaving a target of 255 late on day two.

That was achieved with a great deal of comfort, with England opener Alastair Cook adding 110 to his first-innings 52. No Somerset batsman scored a fifty or took a five-wicket haul in the match.

LAST TIME OUT

Both Championship meetings between the two counties last season ended in draws, with the late August contest at Emirates Old Trafford a high-scoring, rain-affected stalemate.

Somerset made 553-8 declared in their first innings after Lancashire elected to bowl. Opener Abell hit 135 and Peter Trego 154, while Tom Bailey took 5-111, including three wickets in an over.

Alviro Petersen, formerly of Somerset, then underpinned Lancashire’s response of 422-9 with 155. There was no play possible on the final day. It was the first of two important home draws against title challengers, with eventual champions Middlesex also held at Old Trafford, as the Red Rose secured their Division One status for 2017.

WHAT THEY SAID

Glen Chapple has backed Jordan Clark to kick on from his superb career best 140 against Surrey after the all-rounder contributed heavily to a fightback from early strife at 67-5 on day one.

It was arguably the standout performance of the all-rounder’s career so far across all formats.

However, many will no doubt point to his stunning 4-22 in the T20 Blast quarter-final win over Glamorgan in 2014, including a triple wicket maiden, as a pretty good rival for that tag.

“All the lads were delighted for him,” said coach Chapple. “Clarky’s got tremendous ability. He’s a genuine all-rounder, and sometimes you find you have to wait for some performances. But he’s had a great pre-season with us, and he’s started the season well.

“To make that contribution in those circumstances was a real big effort. Performances build your confidence and belief as a player, but to do it against a really good attack will stand him in good stead.

“He’ll be able to attack his cricket with confidence.”

Chapple was also fulsome in his praise for his two spinners, Simon Kerrigan and Stephen Parry, who shared eight wickets in the match and were particularly miserly in the first innings.

“It’s great to see two left-arm spinners bowling together,” he said. “They have two slightly different styles, and they were able to really put pressure on the batsmen.

“It shows a way forward for us in future games, especially with the pitches lined up as they are.”

And, on the Somerset clash specifically, Chapple added: “We’ve been away for a while now with pre-season and three away games on the bounce (including Cambridge MCC Universities).

“It will be good to get home, and I hope we can force that first win.”

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