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Livingstone and Hameed hit fifties but Somerset dominate

Livingstone and Hameed hit fifties but Somerset dominate

Spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess bowled Somerset to the brink of a crucial victory on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Lancashire at Taunton.

Left-armer Leach followed up his five first innings wickets with four for 79 from 47 overs as the visitors, who began the day on 28 without loss following on, progressed to 247 for eight by stumps, a lead of just 45.

Bess offered good support on a pitch offering only slow turn and had figures of three for 85 from 38 overs at the close. Craig Overton was the other wicket-taker.

There were half-centuries from Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone in a more convincing Lancashire batting effort. But from 144 for one, their score was another disappointment.

The visitors extended their opening partnership to 82 before short rain-break disrupted Alex Davies’ concentration. The third ball after the resumption saw him offer a return catch to Leach, aiming through the leg side, having made 49.

It was 89 for one when another shower forced an early lunch. On a pitch offering little assistance to seam or spin, Somerset’s bowlers had their work cut out.

Hameed reached a studious 151-ball half-century, with 6 fours, but on 62 drove Leach to cover where Tom Abell took a straightforward catch.

Steven Croft fell cheaply to Bess, lbw trying to sweep a full-toss, and the young off-spinner went on to remove Shiv Chanderpaul for nine, bowling the veteran West Indies star through the gate.

At tea Lancashire were 175 for four and required a further 27 to make Somerset bat again. The final session saw the hosts take the second new ball and Overton broke through with it as Dean Vilas, on 14, feathered a catch behind.

Livingtone went to an excellent fifty, made off 153 balls, with 3 fours and a six, before falling on 57.

He was given out caught behind off Leach, although wicketkeeper Davies removed the bails and appeared to appeal to the square-leg umpire for a stumping.

Ryan McLaren battled hard for his 15 runs, but was then snapped up off bat and pad by Marcus Trescothick at short-leg to give Leach his fourth wicket.

Bess then had Stephen Parry caught at silly mid-off stretching forward for 12 before Ryan Jarvis and Tom Bailey ensured the game went into a fourth day.

With things going their way at The Oval and Uxbridge, Somerset could move out of the First Division relegation zone with victory tomorrow.

It would be a deserved success. Their bowling and fielding in this match has been exemplary and they have not looked like a team bound for Division Two.

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