History-maker Jennings rips up record books
A career best first-class score of 318 from Keaton Jennings and a century from Luke Wells have helped set up a potentially thrilling final day in this LV= County Championship encounter against a beleaguered Somerset at a sun-drenched day in Southport.
After Wells moved quickly to three figures from his overnight score of 99, the focus of the day became about Jennings, who dominated the visitor’s increasingly ragged bowling attack, as he made the highest individual first class score in the 46 games that have been played at Trafalgar Road, the fourth highest by any Lancashire batter in history and the highest by any Lancashire batter since 1990.
And with the Red Rose scoring quickly throughout the afternoon their advantage could turn into a match-winning one for Lancashire who finished on 624-9 with a lead of 178.
In the morning Wells had celebrated reaching his second century of the season as early as the first over of the day but he was soon returning to the pavilion after edging Jack Brooks through to wicketkeeper Steven Davies for 109.
Jennings was joined by Josh Bohannon who proved to be a superb foil as the pair began constructing a match-defining partnership.
At lunch Lancashire were 271-1 but if that made unhappy enough reading for Somerset’s attack worse was to follow in the middle session as the Red Rose scored an improbable 176 runs from 32 overs to secure maximum batting points with an exhilarating display of big hitting and eager running between the wickets.
Bohannon was nine short of his century when he was eventually bowled by Roelof van der Merwe selflessly attempting to hit out, but the second wicket partnership of 211, a record in itself at Southport, will live long in the memory of those who were there.
Tea saw Lancashire with a one run lead over Somerset’s first innings total of 446 but it felt like more with eight wickets in hand and the evening session to come.
Steven Croft, in his 200th first-class game, added 25 before he was caught by Brooks off van der Merwe while skipper Dane Vilas made seven before playing on to the same bowler.
It was left to Rob Jones to offer the best support to Jennings as the fifth wicket pair compiled another entertaining partnership worth 113 which ended when Jones was caught well by a tumbling Amar Virdi on the long leg boundary off the part time off spin of Matt Renshaw for 38.
Renshaw would enjoy an unlikely cameo as the day came to a close claiming the wickets of George Balderson for one and Tom Bailey for four either side of van der Merwe bowling Luke Wood for three.
But this was Jennings’ day and an extraordinary innings ended in the final over after 426 balls and 582 minutes when the opener holed out to Siddle at long off for 318 as van der Merwe finished with 5-174.
Keaton Jennings, became the new ‘king of Southport’ today and he posed happily with many Southport youngsters in front of the scoreboard after the close of play.
"It feels amazing,” was Keaton’s reaction to his fabulous innings.
“But the main thing is we are in a nice position to push on and hopefully win the game tomorrow. We have a good chance of really putting some pressure on Somerset and get a nice win under our belt.
"The innings went in waves - last night I didn't feel amazing and then today I went through ebbs and flows of scoring quickly and then reigning it back.
"It's one of those days you can look back on at the end of your career and realise it was special but at the moment it hasn't quite sunk in and it just feels like a day in the dirt.
"It's a special day and one I hope I look back on with a lot of pride - I'll be honest I didn't think I'd ever get a first class 300 at any point. As a young lad you read about guys getting a 300 - Mike Hussey was a guy I looked up to as a player - but I never thought I'd ever get there so it is an amazing day.
"I've had some pretty low times in my career that have been fairly well documented so this is a special day - it's a day I'll hopefully smile about with my grandkids one day. A really good day personally and a really good day for the team - we shared a beer in the dressing room and that was really special.”
Photos: Barry Mitchell & Luke Adams