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Dazzling Wells century leads Lancs batting charge

Dazzling Wells century leads Lancs batting charge

Luke Wells’ first Red Rose century helped Lancashire into a strong position after reaching 364-8 after being put in to bat on the opening day of this LV= Insurance County championship match against Somerset.

Half-centuries from Josh Bohannon, Steven Croft and Tom Bailey backed up Wells' fine innings after Somerset fought back by taking five wickets during the afternoon.

Tom Abell’s decision to insert Lancashire a greenish-looking Taunton track looked to have received early vindication as veteran seamer Jack Brooks in particular found a lot of movement to trouble the batsmen.

George Balderson, having started promisingly with a run-a-ball 22, edged his 23rd delivery to Tom Lammonby at gully and hand Ned Leonard his maiden first-class wicket on debut.

He was followed by Alex Davies, who is donning the gloves in preference to George Lavelle in this match, after Davies nicked a moving Brookes delivery to wicketkeeper Steve Davies for 3 with Lancashire in early difficulties on 27-2.

Wells, in alliance with Bohannon, responded with some positive, attacking shots that quickly put the hosts on the back foot.

The pair reached their fifty partnership from 11 overs hitting a flurry of boundaries with Wells the chief aggressor in racing to his fifty from 48 balls when taking three fours off one Ben Green over just before noon.

The century partnership arrived on the stroke of lunch from 147 balls with Bohannon playing a great supporting role having contributed just 21 of those runs and they continued in similar fashion after the break.

    

Wells in particular impressed with his driving as the pitch started to lose its early life but he was equally severe on anything short, pulling consecutive deliveries from Marchant de Lange to the square leg boundary.

Consecutive fours off Tom Abell took Wells to his 19th first-class century off 112 balls in style but his defensive push at the following delivery found an edge that flew to James Hildreth at slip to end a fabulous innings of 103 that contained 20 well-timed fours and break a 155-run partnership with Bohannon.

That was the first of five wickets to fall in the afternoon session as Somerset hit back.

Bohannon reached his half-century from 117 balls with consecutive fours off Abell just as Wells had done to go to his hundred, but then carried the comparison on further than he would have liked by cutting the next delivery straight to Leonard at point.

Rob Jones edged to slip for 5 as Abell picked up a third wicket to leave Lancashire on 201-5 midway through the day.

Dane Vilas and Steven Croft fought back with a thrilling partnership of 65 from 65 balls as Somerset failed to constrain the fast-scoring pair.

Vilas looked to be in great touch before he was adjudged lbw to Brooks for a run-a-ball 36 and Lamb followed the same way for 0, also to Brooks, moments later.

But Croft and Tom Bailey produced a superb partnership of 95 runs either side of tea to press home Lancashire’s advantage.

Croft had an escape when he pulled Brooks to Marchant de Lange at fine leg but it was off a no ball and the Red Rose all-rounder went on to make an excellent 71 before falling in the penultimate over of the day after edging behind off de Lange.

When Bailey reached fifty off 111 balls it was the first time he had posted consecutive half-centuries, backing up his excellent innings at Trent Bridge last week, and he will be partnered tomorrow morning by Jack Blatherwick (1 not out) with Lancashire holding the advantage going into day two.

Ken Grime
Photos: Luke Adams

 
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