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Abell falls one shy of century as Lancashire fight back on day two

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Lancashire’s Keaton Jennings and Dane Vilas shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 169 as Lancashire fought back on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford.

Replying to the visitors’ 429, the home side were 217 for two at the close with Jennings on 91 not out, his first half-century in a first-class match since last June, and Vilas unbeaten on 83.

That represented a recovery by the home side, who were 48 for two when two of their other England Lions players were dismissed amid some superb bowling from the visitors.

The first batsman to be dismissed was Alex Davies, who flashed at a good delivery from Tim Groenewald and edged a catch to Steve Davies. Liam Livingstone made only six before he attempted to work the left-arm spinner Leach to leg but only contrived to nick the ball to Lewis Gregory at slip.

That wicket brought Jennings and Vilas together at just before three o’clock and they stayed at the crease for 50.5 overs either side of tea. They were tested by Craig Overton and both survived confident appeals for bat and pad catches and loud leg before shouts. However, they grew in comfort on an easy-paced wicket and their stand has left this game intriguingly poised with Lancashire 212 runs in arrears.

Earlier in the day Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson took three of the last four wickets to fall as Somerset were bowled out for 429.

The key scalp was that of Tom Abell, who was leg before to Joe Mennie for 99. Abell had played beautifully with the lower order until his dismissal, although replays suggest he had perhaps been hit outside the line of off-stump. Parkinson’s accuracy on a good batting wicket brought him the wickets of Overton for 28, Leach for nought and Paul van Meekeren for six.

Parkinson finished with three for 80 while Mennie, who had bowled rather better than his young colleague, took 3-82. Somerset had resumed on 321 for five but had lost Lewis Gregory for 10, caught at slip by Livingstone off Tom Bailey. Lancashire seamer Jimmy Anderson, who was playing his first game of the season returned figures of nought for 91 from 26 overs.

After play, Somerset spinner Jack Leach said: “With the newer harder ball it was ripping quite nicely and then at the end of the day the ball had got quite soft. That made it harder to make anything happen but we stuck at it pretty well. It was the first time we’d been tested in the field and that was why it was important to keep our energy levels high.”

“Whenever I’m with Liam Livingstone he talks about how much he enjoys playing against Somerset, so it was a pleasing wicket and a nice way to get him. There wasn’t much happening out there and we have to go out there tomorrow morning, get a couple early and put them under pressure.”

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