Lancashire's bowlers suffered a tough day at the County Championship office today as wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter and company blasted them to all parts of a typically fast-scoring Taunton ground.
Kieswetter smashed 14 fours and eight sixes in a brilliant 153 off 170 balls as Somerset amassed a first innings total of 557-8 in reply to the Red Rose county’s 344.
The South African-born wicketkeeper-batsman, whose qualification for England comes in February 2010, shared a mammoth sixth wicket partnership of 183 with Peter Trego, who also walloped eight fours and three sixes in 80 off 98 balls.
It was a record sixth wicket partnership for Somerset against Lancashire in County Championship cricket.
Glen Chapple, Sajid Mahmood and Gary Keedy all claimed two wickets, and Kyle Hogg and Oliver Newby both added a wicket apiece.
Kieswetter, who reached his hundred off 138 balls, raced to his 150 in just another 31 balls.
“It was certainly tough work on that wicket,” said Hogg, who returned figures of 1-91 from 19 overs. “It was hard to keep somebody like Kieswetter at bay on a slow wicket with short boundaries. Wickets were hard to come by. The wicket certainly got better as the day went on.”
Somerset, who lost Trego and Kieswetter to Keedy and Newby respectively late in the afternoon, declared immediately after David Stiff was caught behind by Luke Sutton off the bowling of Keedy.
It was an attacking declaration on the verge of the tea break from Marcus Trescothick, and one that would have taken plenty of onlookers by surprise.
With a Championship relegation fight a certainty should they lose this match, Lancashire lost makeshift opener Sutton early in their second innings when he was caught behind by the all action Kieswetter off the bowling of Alfonso Thomas for 16.
Paul Horton (32) was also caught behind off Stiff, giving Kieswetter his eighth catch of the match so far. Mal Loye, who will resume tomorrow unbeaten on 23, and VVS Laxman (16) took their side to 87-2 after 34 overs. The visitors trail by 126 runs with eight wickets in hand going into the final day.
“It’s going to be a massive day for us, and the first session is very important,” continued Hogg. “If we lose a couple of wickets we could be in trouble.
“But we have got batters there who looked set. We’ve got as many good players in our team as them, and when you get in it is not only very hard to get out, but very hard to stop them scoring runs as a bowling side.”
Photo: Phil Mingo, Pinnacle
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd