Friday 4 - Monday 7 May 2018
A 66th first-class century from 42 year-old Marcus Trescothick and the first three figure score by 20 year-old George Bartlett have put Somerset in a strong position on 321-5 by the end of the first day of this Specsavers County Championship match after skipper Tom Abell won the toss.
Lancashire made two changes from last week’s match with James Anderson, playing his first match of the season, and Matt Parkinson replacing Haseeb Hameed and Graham Onions.
The first boundary of the day came from a top edge over the slips by Trescothick off Tom Bailey although the batsman then produced several authentic cuts to the third man boundary to make a flying start as the visitors swiftly reached 50 in the 11th over in good batting conditions.
Anderson looked the more likely to make the breakthrough with a fine opening spell of 0-15 from seven overs, beating the bat on a number of occasions. It was Bailey who struck first at the start of his second spell when Matt Renshaw flicked an on-drive high to Jordan Clark running in from deep mid-wicket to depart for 21 with Somerset 65-1 in the 15th over.
Bartlett’s first boundary also came from a genuine edge to third man off Clark but he settled in to reach lunch on 24 while Trescothick continued relentlessly to his half-century from 68 balls just before the break, with the visitors 113-1.
Lancashire made a change during the interval with Dane Vilas taking over behind the stumps from Alex Davies, presumably feeling some effect from the thumb injury he picked up last week, who stayed on the pitch and generally fielding at third man or square leg but away from any close-in position.
The afternoon had a dramatic start with Trescothick offering a very difficult chance from the first delivery, cutting the ball from Joe Mennie fiercely to point. Despite flirting with several deliveries outside the off stump through his innings Trescothick was severe on anything short or wide, scoring 47 of his runs behind square on the off side. At the other end Bartlett progressed steadily to reach his first half century in first-class cricket (in his 6th game) from 97 balls when driving his eighth four through cover and the pair posted their 100 partnership off 168 balls in the same over.
There was further drama midway through the day when Trescothick, on 95, collapsed after playing a drive and he required lengthy treatment to his right leg from the Somerset physio before continuing with a runner. The left-handed opener looked in agony but bravely batted on to reach his 66th first-class century, and second at Emirates Old Trafford, in the following over off 137 balls with 15 fours. Without adding to his score, he then edged Liam Livingston’s first ball to wicketkeeper Dane Vilas to hobble off, job done, but at the close it was revealed how painful those last few minutes must have been with the discovery that Trescothick had broken his right 5th metatarsal and is out of cricket for the foreseeable future.
Trescothick’s departure ended a 134-run partnership at 199-2 and that soon became 215-3 when James Hildreth got a leading edge to a Joe Mennie delivery and was well caught by Clark, diving, at mid-off for 5.
Bartlett thumped a six off Parkinson but was fortunate to survive on 69 after being dropped attempting to hit the spinner over mid-off. Unperturbed the 20-year-old batted steadily on through the final session, with good support from Abell, to reach his maiden first-class century from 189 balls during the final hour. It took a great, leaping, catch at second slip by Livingstone off Mennie to bring Bartlett's fine effort to an end for 110 with Somerset 294-4.
Abell (48 not out) and Steve Davies looked to have taken the visitors through to the close without further mishap only for Davies to get a faint glance to the final delivery of the day from Jordan Clark and be caught down the leg side by Vilas for 15 to leave Somerset on 321-5.
“That last wicket lifted spirits a bit at the end of the day,” said Assistant Head Coach Mark Chilton. “It’s been a pretty hard day for the boys really.
“We didn’t start well (this morning), and from my position it looks a pretty good batting surface. But I thought we stuck at it pretty well. To get a wicket at the end gives us a bit of a lift and if we have a strong first hour in the morning we will still be in a position to win the game.”
Somerset got off to a flying start this morning and Chilton said: “I thought we found it difficult to dry the runs up. There didn’t look to be much of a margin for error and we bowled a fraction shortly early on. And then trying to restrict the runs became a challenge.
“I thought we bowled well with the second new ball. We got our lengths a lot better then.
Somerset have batted themselves into a good position and Chilton added: “We need to have a chat and be clear on how we are going to approach the first hour (tomorrow).
“It’s important to try, on what is a typical Old Trafford wicket, and restrict the opposition as best you can until you get the chance to get openings to pick up some wickets. It’s clearly a decent batting surface.
“I think this wicket (compared to last week’s against Surrey) is a bit harder to shut teams down on. Although it’s not quick it’s got more pace than last week. If you got men in front of the bat then you could dry the runs up. I think this wicket is a little bit more challenging. We pride ourselves on good wickets of trying to control the run-rate when we need to. We’ve got to find a way of doing that better tomorrow.”
A superb 169-run unbroken partnership between Keaton Jennings and Dane Vilas led a strong Lancashire reply on the second day of this Specsavers County Championship match, with the Red Rose reaching 217-2 at the close in reply to Somerset’s 429 all out.
Opener Jennings scored his first half century for Lancashire and Vilas his second first-class fifty of the season on another scorching hot day at Emirates Old Trafford.
And the opening batsman was pleased to have put in a good contribution.
“I’m the kind of guy who always wants to contribute whether it’s scoring runs, taking catches, or bowling,” he said. “It adds to a good team ethos and a good team vibe. So it’s been frustrating to say the least-we’ve played on some bowler friendly surfaces at times-but that’s the joys of playing in early April. You need to be mentally tough to pull through those periods.
Jennings and Vilas both played with increasing assurance through the afternoon and evening as Somerset’s bowlers found the going just as tough as their Lancashire counterparts had done twenty-four hours earlier on a good batting track.
Alex Davies looked in great touch and had got the Red Rose reply off to a rapid start with five boundaries inside the first seven overs, the last one a fine straight drive off Tim Groenewald. But having made 23 of the first 35 runs scored Davies nicked the same bowler behind to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.
Liam Livingstone got a leading edge to the spin of Jack Leach with Lewis Gregory snaring the catch at slip to depart for 6 with the score 48-2 and Somerset then probably sensed an opportunity. But Jennings and Vilas combined to turn the day Lancashire’s way with a great third-wicket alliance worth 169 runs from one delivery short of 51 overs.
“The new ball is crucial,” said Jennings. “There’s a bit more bounce and zip in the surface and as a batter you feel that there are balls on this surface than can get you out. You just have to hang in. We kept saying to each other: ‘hang in there. Try and drag it in as deep as you can’. As you take guys into later spells you do get some bad balls, and Somerset kept pushing hard to knock us over.”
In fact Vilas thumped Leach for consecutive sixes very early in his innings but was more watchful thereafter as the Somerset attack bowled a tight line and length. Instead both Lancashire batsmen settled in to steadily build their partnership, reaching tea on 103-2, before playing with increasing freedom during the final session to take the attack back to the bowlers.
Jennings had reached 91 not out by the close and Vilas is on 83 with Lancashire going into the third day in good shape.
It was a partnership that Jennings described as ‘good fun’.
“We complement each other in the way we play,” he explained. “I really enjoy batting together with him. We went to the same school as me so I suppose the understanding is there from how we want to go about playing. It was good fun.
“Also he struck the ball beautifully and at times you look at him and think is he playing on a different surface to me? He struck the ball so cleanly.”
“To put together a partnership where we potentially could be in the driving seat in a session or two’s time is really important.
“Hopefully we can push on and get us into a position where we have a strong hold on the game.
“We’ve got to make sure we bat properly for a period of time tomorrow. Look after the second new ball and you never know what might happen. It feels like the type of surface that could accelerate the game quickly. It may not be in the first two sessions, but on day four it could.”
Somerset resumed their first innings at the start of the day on 321-5 with Tom Abell soon adding the two runs he needed to reach his half century. The visitors’ skipper looked in great touch as early runs arrived with just the loss of Gregory to a good catch low down to his left at slip by Livingstone off Tom Bailey for 10 slowing their early momentum.
Abell and Craig Overton added 61 runs in 13 overs to take Somerset into a strong position on 415-6 before, somewhat unexpectedly, three wickets fell for 0 runs in 10 balls.
It was Matt Parkinson who made the breakthrough with Overton driving the spinner into the waiting hands of James Anderson at mid-wicket after scoring 28. Abell, who had played a fine innings thus far, became stuck on 99 for ten deliveries and was then lbw to Joe Mennie from the eleventh. Leach lasted three balls, gloving a sweep off Parkinson to be nicely caught by Vilas diving forward from behind the stumps to leave Somerset on 417-9.
There was time for Groenewald to thump a six before Parkinson ended the innings on 429 by trapping Paul van Meereken lbw for 6.
It was a great effort by the Lancashire attack, something Jennings was quick to acknowledge.
“At the back end of yesterday it looked like we could have been in field for a long time,” he said.
“So credit to our bowlers on a non-responsive surface to keep charging in (this morning). They’ve had 290-odd overs in the field on the bounce, so to keep pumping their knees and putting in the effort is outstanding.”
Dane Vilas scored a magnificent double-century, the fourth of his career, as Lancashire batted past Somerset’s first innings total at Emirates Old Trafford to establish a 63-run lead that visitors had reduced to 12 runs with all second innings wickets intact by the close of another hot and sunny day.
Batting at number four in a reshuffled Lancashire line-up, Vilas added to his outstanding record of going on to make a big score after reaching a century with a quite magnificent innings of 235 not out. It was the eighth time he has gone past the 150-run landmark out of his 17 first-class centuries.
Lancashire’s aim at the start of play, resuming on 217-2, was to bat well past Somerset’s first innings 429 and they were on course to do just that for most of the third day until an extraordinary career-best bowling performance by opposing skipper Tom Abell put the skids under the latter part of the Red Rose innings.
With Lancashire on 431-5 and two runs ahead, Abell-whose previous best was a modest 2-12 earlier this season-claimed four wickets in 12 balls with his medium pacers to put a big dent in Red Rose ambitions of building a substantial lead.
First Abell broke a century partnership for the sixth wicket between Vilas and Jordan Clark, the delivery after Clark had reached his third half-century of the season, and then snapped up the wickets of Joe Mennie, Tom Bailey and James Anderson in one sensational over to finish with 4-34.
Vilas with great support from Matt Parkinson added 49 runs for the tenth wicket, hitting two huge sixes, and his marathon effort had lasted seven minutes short of nine hours by the time Craig Overton ended the innings with a great catch off Paul van Meekeren to dismiss Parkinson for 9.
Somerset, without the injured Marcus Trescothick, opened their second innings with Matt Renshaw and Steve Davies, and the pair steered their side through to the close, though not without a few alarms as the wicket is taking increasing spin, on 51-0.
At the start of play Keaton Jennings reached his first Lancashire century (off 234 balls) with lovely off-drive off Leach to record his 16th boundary, but was lbw to the left arm spinner for 109 moments after posting the 200 partnership for the third wicket with Vilas.
Vilas soon reached his own century (off 101 balls with 2 sixes and 8 fours) by cutting van Meekeren backward of point for four and that also took Lancashire to a second batting point on 253-3.
Buoyed by their early success Somerset took the new ball in the 83rd over, Overton striking with the wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul lbw for 6 while Steven Croft made 11 before edging Leach to Lewis Gregory at slip just before lunch.
But Vilas played in imperious fashion after reaching three figures, striking another ten boundaries to go from 100 to 150 with some hugely impressive shots as Lancashire added 113 runs to their total in the morning session.
When Vilas swept Leach for four at the start of the afternoon to reach 153 he also passed the record score in first-class cricket by a Lancashire wicketkeeper, bettering Luke Sutton’s 151 not out against Yorkshire in 2006. The South African survived a fairly straightforward chance to gully when on 171, but otherwise it was a flawless effort that soon had the 32 year-old raising his bat once more to acknowledge his double century.
Dane Vilas thoroughly enjoyed his day out in the middle.
“It was amazing. It’s always nice to get a hundred and a big one too, so that was exactly what we wanted as a team,” he said.
“It was almost a perfect day for us. If we had got one or two wickets at the end it would have been.”
The way Vilas hit the ball so cleanly and sweetly was impressive and he added: “There’s no better feeling. You get to a hundred and then a hundred and fifty, and you get the field spread. You can pick where you want to hit it. It’s not often you get opportunities like that, so you have to make the most of it when you can.
“It’s a really good wicket and it’s nice to cash in when you can.
This was the ninth time Vilas has scored over 150 and he said: “the easiest time to bat is when you get over a hundred. You’re feeling good, you’re moving well, so the bowler’s know that you are in. You have to make the most of that, and try and get as many runs as you can.
“That’s what we aim for in this team. You want a big hundred and make it really difficult for the opposition. Keep them out there as long as you can, and push hard for a big score. It’s difficult for the next guy coming in so you don’t want to pass on it and leave it for someone else (to deal with).
“In the back of my mind I’m thinking about times on a green seamer earlier in the summer where things aren’t quite going as well and you wish you could get just one run! So you have to cash in on days like today.”
The scores in this match are nearly level but Vilas believes there is still time to get a result on the final day.
“It’s spinning out there,” he said. “There was a few chances tonight. I don’t think (Somerset’s) 54-0 tells the true story of what it was like out there. I thought their openers batted nicely, but we were a little unlucky. We could have picked up two or three (wickets) so hopefully we can start well tomorrow, get a quick burst of wickets and if we do that, anything is possible.”
Bonus points: Lancashire 6, Somerset 5.
Lancashire’s bowlers made a great effort to push for victory on a hot and sunny day at Emirates Old Trafford, with Matt Parkinson taking a five-wicket haul, but they were denied by a determined rear-guard action from Somerset’s lower order batsmen during the second half of the day.
Wickets fell in clusters at different points of the final day of this Specsavers County Championship match to raise Red Rose hopes, none more so when Parkinson dismissed visiting skipper Tom Abell to leave Somerset on 145-6 and just 82 runs ahead nearly halfway through proceedings.
But Jack Leach, who had previously scored only one first-class half-century before-on this ground twelve months ago-batted resolutely for 146 minutes to make a vital, career-best 66. He received great support from Craig Overton who supplied a limpet-like innings of 5 that spanned 71 minutes to help post a 52-run partnership for the seventh wicket before tea, and Tim Groenewald who contributed 36 to another fifty partnership for the eighth wicket after the break to steer Somerset safely through to a draw.
Leach departed moments before the end when he became Parkinson’s fifth victim to give the young leg spinner his second career five-wicket return, and the players shook hands two overs later.
Lancashire had made the ideal start to the day with two early wickets; Matt Renshaw lofted a drive off Parkinson only to be well caught by Tom Bailey running back from mid-off without adding to his overnight score of 20, and James Anderson then trapped George Bartlett lbw for 6 to leaved Somerset-without Marcus Trescothick who was only available to bat at number 11 if required following his broken toe injury-on 67-2.
Steve Davies and James Hildreth combined well in a 53-run partnership but both perished in quick succession to Parkinson who was finding increasing turn; Davies pushing forward gave Steven Croft a catch at short leg after making 54 while Hildreth went lbw for 26 playing back with the visitors 120-4 and only 57 runs ahead.
Abell and Lewis Gregory added a further 23 runs before lunch but Gregory departed for 13 without addition to the score straight after the break, edging Joe Mennie to Liam Livingstone at slip. Two runs later Abell followed-lbw to Parkinson for 13-to leave Somerset on 145-6.
It looked promising for Lancashire at that point but the visitors rallied with Leach, Overton and Groenewald demonstrating great resilience through the remainder of the day.
Leg spinner Matt Parkinson thought it had been a good effort to push Somerset all day at Emirates Old Trafford.
“Obviously it was a bit frustrating to have drawn,” he said. “When you look at the first three days and only 20 wickets fell, to get ten in a day would have been a big ask. Getting eight on a fairly placid track that did spin a bit was a great effort from the lads.
“When we got Gregory and Abell that was probably when we had our last hope of trying to force something. But fair play to Leachy. For a number nine he batted really well on that wicket.”
“We had the better of the four days, on a flat wicket and we bowled fairly well in the first innings. For us to get 492 and Dane a double hundred was fantastic.
“I think for us to have even a glimmer of hope by tea on day four was a good effort.”
Parkinson’s eight wickets in the match is a career-best and he added:
“It was nice for me to be landing the ball well and when I got those two wickets together that was when we had our best chance of rolling them over. I was very pleased with how I went today.
“I was injured at the start of last season. So coming into this season on the back of a decent winter I didn’t have any expectations of playing, but I thought I could force my way in and to play two of the four games has been great. Fingers crossed I can play in the next ten and have a strong season for the club.”
Glen Chapple admitted to a bit of frustration over the result, but couldn’t fault the effort that very nearly led to a different outcome.
“I think when you are on top it’s slightly frustrating (to have drawn),” said Lancashire’s Head Coach. “We played well enough to give ourselves a good chance of winning. We just ran out of time.
“In an ideal world we would have liked a bigger lead. That’s asking for a lot given that we made almost 500 batting second. There was a chance for us to have made a few more but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. To have a better chance of forcing a victory we probably needed another 50 or 60 runs. Having said that Dane made 235 which is an incredible effort and Keaton made a century-it was a good effort.
“The bowler’s effort levels in this match were tremendous. That’s what you ask for day in, day out.
“Coming in this morning you could tell the lads were all geared up for winning the game, and they left nothing out on pitch.
“Last week’s effort against Surrey was very high quality, and we bowled well this game. There were small areas where we could have pressed a bit better but you can’t take anything away from the effort.
Chapple also reflected on the start to the season.
“To lose two and draw two is disappointing,” he said. “But the cricket we’ve played in the last two matches is very encouraging.
“I think most people who have watched the start of the season know the first two or three rounds are something of a lottery. We know we could have done certain things better.
“But the last two games we’ve dominated against two good teams. So we’ve got to take a lot of heart from that, and go into next week with a lot of confidence that we are playing good cricket.”