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Tom impresses with the ball but honours even on day three

An unbeaten double-century by Dane Vilas and a career-best four for 43 by Tom Abell were the highlights of the third day’s play at Emirates Old Trafford, where Somerset finished on 51 for no wicket, still 12 runs behind Lancashire, whose first-innings 492 had allowed them to take a 63-run lead into the second half of the game.

However, while the match seems likely to end in a draw, the cricket on this hot Sunday in Manchester will be remembered for Vilas’ 235 not out off 363 balls and for Abell taking four wickets in 12 balls to destroy the home side’s hopes of taking a three-figure first-innings lead.

Resuming on 217 for two in reply to Somerset’s 429, Lancashire lost three wickets on the third morning but Vilas’ unbeaten century allowed them to reduce their first-innings deficit to 99 runs with five wickets in hand at lunch.

Early in the piece Keaton Jennings reached his own century off 234 balls, but having reached three figures for the first time in 43 First Class innings, he was leg before on the back foot to Jack Leach for 109. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was also leg before to Craig Overton with the new ball for six, but Vilas flourished after reaching his hundred off 183 balls.

The South African hit nine fours in his next 41 runs after getting to his century, but he lost Steven Croft a couple of overs before lunch, Leach taking his third wicket of the innings when he had the former Lancashire skipper caught at slip by Lewis Gregory for 11.

The afternoon was again dominated by Vilas but Somerset skipper Abell changed the balance of the game by taking those four wickets.

The South African batted majestically, although he had enjoyed one stroke of luck on 171 when he was put down at gully off Paul van Meekeren.

Otherwise it was ruthless stuff from Vilas, who reached 150 off 238 balls and his 200 off 323 balls with 24 fours and two sixes. Indeed, Somerset had to wait until five overs before the scheduled interval to take their first wicket of the session, albeit Abell dominated matters thereafter.

Tom Abell, captain of Somerset celebrates the wicket of Tim Bresnan

The visiting captain bowled Jordan Clark for 50 and then took three wickets in an over with his medium pace. He bowled Joe Mennie, trapped Tom Bailey leg before and had James Anderson caught at the wicket first ball to leave Lancashire on 443 for nine before Vilas levied successive boundaries off Jack Leach to claim the fourth double hundred of his career.

Vilas and Matt Parkinson added 49 for the last Lancashire wicket before the innings ended when Parkinson was caught in the gully off van Meekeren for nine. In all Vilas faced 363 balls and batted for 533 minutes for his 235 not out. He hit 27 fours and four sixes.

Matt Renshaw and Steve Davies calmly guided Somerset to 51 without loss by the close.

At the end of the day Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “It looked like Lancashire were going to bat past us by a long way until that inspired spell by Tom Abell. Tom’s worked hard on his bowling. He’s got some really good skills, he’s built his confidence at this level and over the last couple of games, it’s proved really vital for us. He put the ball in the right place, there was a bit of swing there for him and he got on a roll.”

“Vilas played superbly. I was particularly impressed with the way he played Jack Leach.

“It was really good of Steve Davies to put himself forward to open in place of Marcus. To finish the day only 12 runs behind was really positive.”

The match scorecard can be viewed here

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