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Somerset in a strong position after contrasting centuries

Somerset in a strong position after contrasting centuries

Somerset in a strong position after contrasting centuries

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.  

MATCH CENTRE

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.”

Ken Grime
Photo: Simon Pendrigh

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