Marcus Trescothick scored a brilliant century for Somerset against Lancashire on day two of the LV=CC game at Taunton and entered the record books by scoring just three of those runs. And it was alternative viewing for the Taunton regulars used to Tres’s usual belligerent and free scoring approach as this innings was very much about occupying the crease and waiting for the bad ball. It took the former England left-hander 31 balls to get off the mark and his first 50 runs took 144 balls to complete.
Somerset finished the second day in a good position on 193 for 2, trailing Lancashire’s first innings by just 73 runs with 8 wickets remaining, with Tres on 107. He was ably supported by Alviro Petersen in a partnership worth 144 runs with the latter on 57 going into day 3.
The start of the first day was delayed due to a damp outfield that had suffered some damage from the recent Rod Stewart concert. At the toss away captain Glen Chapple called correctly and opted to bat, much to the surprise of the vast majority of match attendees. And this derision appeared to be justified as the Lancashire batsmen scratched around in difficult conditions against very accurate Somerset bowling.
But one of the Red Rose county’s men stood tall and that was vice-captain Paul Horton who struck a very good hundred while his team-mates were coming-and-going at the other end. Horton would be the last wicket to fall on day one in the 84th over having scored 140, which included 21×4.
Neither opener Davies nor number three bat Khawaja were able to get into double figures falling for 8 and 9 when the total was 30 and 51 respectively. Ashwell Prince also went cheaply for 5 when the score was 71 before Croft helped Horton take the score past 100 before falling for 18 and the total became 121 for 4.
Now this game was being hyped as the return of prodigal son Jos Buttler to his native Somerset for the first time since his departure to Lancashire at the end of last season. With four wickets down Buttler entered the field to a very warm reception from all supporters in the ground and it was nice to see the Somerset supporters show their appreciation to a young man who always gave his all to the cause. It showed, for me, why Cricket reigns supreme over most sports.
But, although it was nice to see Jos again, it was now time to get him out as we all know only too well how dangerous he is when he gets going. He smashed Dockrell for two big sixes as he helped himself to 18 runs before Lewis Gregory bowled him and the relief, and respect, was for all to see.
The score was 165 for 5 at this stage and Croft helped Horton to 219 when the latter was sixth wicket down. The day finished with Lancashire on 221 for 6 with Smith 13* and White 1 after 87 overs. I would say both teams would have been satisfied with the day – given the pitch – and feeling capable of kicking on in day two.
The second day started in glorious sunshine and it didn’t take Somerset long to make inroads into the Lancashire batsmen. Gregory snared Smith on 14 with the 13th ball of the day to make it 226 for 7 and White hung around for 13 runs before he was bowled by Thommo with the scoreboard now saying 249 for 8.
And then George Dockrell finished Lancashire off with a double wicket maiden. First he had Hogg caught by Tres for 4 and Kerrigan for zero three balls later.
The innings closed on 266. For Somerset three bowlers took three wickets – Thomas (for 34 runs), Gregory (65) and Dockrell (48).
Going into this game Lionel Palairet had the record for scoring most first class runs at Taunton with 7,228, a record that had stood for over a century. Marcus Trescothick was suitably poised on 7,226.
Tres walked out to bat with Chris Jones and the first tactic was clearly to reach lunch with no dramas. There weren’t any and we were 10 for 0 off 10 overs going into the break.
Lancashire were bowling tightly in the same difficult conditions that their team faced with bat in hand. Chapple and Hogg are wily old campaigners and always make life difficult for their opponents. Tres lost fellow opener Jones (10) on 19 and Compo stuck around for 62 balls for 9 runs before he departed while the score 49. But he stuck to his game and entered the record books by hitting the 3rd run needed shortly after lunch and batted professionally and sensibly throughout to work his way to a third century of this campaign. And Somerset won both those games where Tres scored a ton. He has now scored 808 this season which already surpasses the 804 he scored in 2013.
So into day three we go and I suggest it will be more of the same for Somerset in the morning session as the cidermen chase down the 73 runs to take a lead over Lancashire. There maybe some fireworks in the middle session if there are still a suitable amount of wickets in hand and I am sure Tres will want to bowl at Lancs at some stage on Tuesday, even if only for an hour.
It is sure to be an intriguing day.