Lancashire are top of LV= County Championship Division One after beating Somerset in three days at Aigburth.
Debutant Farveez Maharoof hit a century and then played a crucial role in bowling out the visitors as the Red Rose won by an innings and 20 runs.
The Sri Lankan took two wickets, as did Tom Smith and Gary Keedy as Somerset were dismissed for 163 in their second innings in less than two sessions, having earlier smashed 102 in Lancashire’s first innings 451.
“There is just one word to describe that - fantastic,” said Maharoof, who is just the third Lancashire player to score a century on his Championship debut and the first to reach three figures while batting at No.8 since Glen Chapple in 2001.
“I have four first-class centuries but this is the number one for me because of the tough conditions and it was against a good side. It doesn’t get any better.”
It is Lancashire’s second successive victory by an innings this season, having started their campaign with a win over Sussex at Liverpool.
“It was a fantastic performance,” said Mark Chilton, who captained the side in the absence of the injured Chapple. “We had a lot of confidence from the first game, individuals are in good form, but the whole attitude was first class against a very good team and everybody should be very proud of that performance.
“Maharoof was fantastic, it was great to see him do that and is really encouraging for the future.
“He just looks a proper player. If he performs like that each week he is going to get runs. He has a sound technique and plays spin very well. It was a fantastic debut for him.”
Steven Kirby claimed his sixth wicket of the innings for Somerset as Craig Kieswetter claimed a good catch to dismiss Sajid Mahmood for 20 in the opening session.
But it didn’t stop Maharoof as he launched countryman Ajantha Mendis for a straight six and then, three overs later, smashed three boundaries off the spinner.
The former Sri Lanka Under-19 skipper brought up his hundred in 131 balls with his 13th four.
Former England opener Marcus Trescothick claimed his fifth catch of the innings as Oliver Newby nicked a Charl Willoughby delivery to slip for 14, and Maharoof soon followed, trapped lbw by Arul Suppiah. But it was enough to give Lancashire a 183-run first-innings lead.
And he wasn’t finished there. Maharoof found Suppiah’s edge in his first over with the ball, with wicketkeeper Gareth Cross claiming a neat catch. Nick Compton followed four overs later, this time Paul Horton the catcher at slip.
Somerset skipper Trescothick was caught driving Mahmood at cover by Stephen Moore before the pre-season title favourites brought about their own downfall.
While going for a fourth run, James Hildreth was turned back by Kieswetter but was run out after a great throw from Steven Croft on the boundary.
Jos Buttler became Cross’s eighth victim of the match edging Tom Smith, who also accounted for Peter Trego lbw six overs later.
Kieswetter and Gemaal Hussain put on 57 before the former England wicketkeeper went off the first ball after tea, looping up a leading edge from Newby to Mahmood for 38.
Hussain’s brave resistance crumbled as he edged Keedy to Horton at slip for 42, his highest first-class score.
Kirby was then run out after a great throw by Smith and, in the next over, Mendis was stumped by Cross off Keedy as Lancashire claimed 22 points to move three points clear of Nottinghamshire at the top.
After Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 opener against Unicorns at Old Trafford, Lancashire return to Championship action against Sussex at Hove on Tuesday.
Reports: Day 1 I Day 2
Photos (c) Simon Pendrigh
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