Five for Jack as Somerset take control on day two
Jack Leach helped to put Somerset in a commanding position on day two of this Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Replying to the home side’s first innings score of 335, the red rose county saw their hopes of overhauling leaders Essex and claiming the title all but vanish as they were dismissed for 133 inside 58 overs.
Slow left armer Leach inflicted much of the damage on a pitch offering turn, claiming five for 47 to help the home side forge a meaningful first-innings lead of 202. Somerset then enforced the follow-on and Lancashire reached stumps on 28 without loss, still 174 behind.
Once Somerset had added five runs to their overnight tally, their focus switched to applying pressure with the ball and Craig Overton effected an early breakthrough, inducing Alex Davies to edge a routine catch to Marcus Trescothick at second slip.
Having batted for more than an hour and faced 56 balls in scratching four runs, England batsman Haseeb Hameed was lured into uncharacteristic indiscretion by a short-pitched delivery from Peter Trego, top-edging a miss-timed hook to George Bartlett at fine leg.
Introduced as early as the 13th over, Leach claimed his 150th First Class victim when Liam Livingstone, pushing forward tentatively, edged low to first slip where Overton stooped to conquer as the visitors slipped to 39 for three.
Veteran campaigners Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Steven Croft set about repairing the damage, advancing the score to 61 for three by lunch, at which point the heavens opened. By the time conditions eased and play could resume, Somerset’s bowlers were left with a minimum of 38 overs in which to further impose themselves.
Leach accounted for Chanderpaul on 17, tempting the West Indies batsman to play round the corner and pop a straightforward catch up to Trescothick via bat and pad with the scoreboard on 84. Lancashire were only two runs better off when Croft, nine short of a half century, was left by an Overton away-swinger and nicked a regulation catch behind.
Dane Vilas fell to a poor shot, pouched by Steve Davies off the bowling of Tim Groenewald for eight and Leach registered his hundredth wicket in matches at Taunton, bowling Stephen Parry for one.
Devon-born off spinner Dom Bess then accounted for Tom Bailey, expertly stumped by Davies, while Leach accounted for Kyle Jarvis and then pinned Ryan McLaren lbw for 30 as Lancashire struggled.
After the day had drawn to a close Jack said: “The day went exactly to plan, apart from the way that I got out this morning, which wasn’t how I had it planned! However, I went into the field a bit annoyed and thought I needed to do a job with the ball. We stuck at it well as a team and it was a really good performance for us to get them out like we did.
“When the pitch is spinning like it was today you have to stay really patient and repeat what you are doing over and over and hopefully the wickets will come- and they did today.
“The longer the season goes on the better I’m bowling and probably over the last few weeks has been the best it has felt. Now I just want to keep that going and help us to get good results.”
Dom Bess and Jack Leach have now taken 85 wickets bowling in harness together in eight and a half Championship matches about which Jack said: “I love bowling with Bessie and he has done brilliantly. We keep each other on our toes and keep trying to push each other to get better and better and we are a good combination.
“We also help each other out and Bessie has been brilliant. Today I got five and tomorrow Bessie might get five so there is a real partnership there.”
Were there any qualms about enforcing the follow on? “No,” he said. “I think we were happy with that decision because the wicket here sometimes can flatten out later on so we felt that we wanted to make the most of the wicket and we had a good lead.”
Looking forward to tomorrow Jack said: “We will be going to bowl them all out again, but we will need to be patient.”
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