Double delight for Vilas
Double delight for Vilas
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.
Photo: Luke Adams
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