Day 4 Report: Somerset v Lancashire, 02 July 2014
by John Ward

Ground:County Ground, Taunton
Scorecard:Somerset v Lancashire
Event:LV County Championship 2014

DateLine: 2nd July 2014


Day 4, from John Ward at Taunton

Close of play: Lancashire (266 and 251/5) drew with Somerset (484)


This was a day for the determined rather than the spectacular, as Lancashire, bolstered by dogged fifties from Usman Khawaja and Steven Croft, fought their way to a creditable draw against an enthusiastic Somerset team.


This final day’s play was a simple matter of survival for Lancashire, needing virtually to bat through the day on a rather strange pitch to secure a draw, the best they could hope for. Somerset, on the other hand, were anticipating their fourth victory of the season, if they could complete the job, which would keep them well up among the championship contenders.


Lancashire began the day at 59 for no wicket, their first target being the 218 they needed to avoid an innings defeat. With Paul Horton having retired hurt, Alex Davies and Khawaja were at the crease. Davies, aggressive on the third evening when he finished with 38, could not get going this time, and added just three more runs in twenty minutes before he flashed at a ball from Alfonso Thomas outside the off stump and edged a catch to the keeper.


Khawaja and Prince now carried on the struggle, both international players but neither looking convincing on this occasion. Prince had 5 when he survived a glaring stumping chance, beaten as he went well down the pitch to try to drive George Dockrell, who bowled unchanged for most of the early part of the day from the River End of the ground. Khawaja battled through to 60, which took him 151 balls, and then, just before lunch, was caught at short leg off Dockrell, making the score 137 for two.


This began a period of trouble for Lancashire. After the break Prince, who had struggled to 22, trying to be positive but unable to find fluency, gave Kieswetter a second chance of stumping, which the wicket-keeper took emphatically enough by smashing all three stumps out of the ground. Prince had made 22 off 86 balls. Kieswetter stayed in the action by catching in succession Jos Buttler, a soft dismissal, for 3, and Tom Smith for 4. Lancashire were now in considerable trouble at 159 for five.


At this stage the wounded warrior Horton returned to the crease, digging in deeply and determined to make Somerset pay for his injury. Croft was still there, in fine form recently and now playing a solid defensive innings, and the pair survived until tea. At this stage Lancashire had recovered to 212 for five, Croft on 35 and Horton 26. They now needed just another six runs needed to save the innings defeat, and safety was in sight not far beyond that, as long as the batsmen could survive the second new ball.


This they did, and Croft went on to record his fifty off 119 balls. The game meandered to a close after this, the score at the end being 251 for five off exactly 100 overs when the players agreed to a draw at five o’clock. It was a rather unexpected result, given the concerns about the pitch since the first day, but there was a great deal of determined batting in those conditions on all four days, despite some good bowling, and this led to the eventual stalemate. In this final innings the impressive Thomas took three for 35 off 21 overs, while Dockrell’s marathon spells gave him two for 70 off 40.


(Article: Copyright © 2014 John Ward)


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