County Championship Division 1, Old Trafford, Day 3, 6th May 2018, Somerset 429 Bartlett (110, Trescothick 100, Abell 99) and 269-8 dec drew with Lancashire 492
Whoever said this match was going to peter out into a dull draw really didn’t know what they were talking about. Whoever said this surface was exactly the sort of surface that denied the paying spectator entertainment must have been out of his mind.
Twenty four hours is a long time for a cricket writer!
The overnight comfort of 51-0 became 51-1 immediately and 67-2 soon not long after with Matt Renshaw and George Bartlett dismissed. Steven Davies was, however making a good fist of this opening lark duly reaching his 50 and in the reassuring company of James Hildreth they eased to 110 in the second hour of the day.
Then chaos, principally in the form of Matt Parkinson’s leg-spin descended. The top six were all gone for 145 and with Marcus incapacitated the remaining two sessions seemed a long, long test.
no one can deny however that Tom Abell is instilling a real spirit in this Somerset side. Resilience arrived in perhaps unexpected form of Craig Overton who alongside Jack Leach (batting at 8) added 52. Craig’s contribution was only 5, scored off 47 balls in 71 minutes but when he was palpably lbw to Tom Bailey the pair had only occupied 17 overs and the lead was only 136. There was plenty of time, surely, for Lancashire to wrap this up?
Overton was replaced by Tim Groenewald, a pretty much like for like replacement. But Timmy reprised Overton’s effort and some. His 36 took an hour and half and 72 precious deliveries.
Alongside Leach who was on his way to a career-best 66 (131 balls, 146 minutes) a further 69 was added. This was a side of Leach only the members of Taunton Deane had seen before. Calm, assured, extremely sensible and utterly pragmatic.
This pair deserved to see it out to the close however it was not to be, Parkinson got Leach for his 5th of the innings leaving Groenewald too see it through to the close in the company of Paul van Meekeren.
After the close of play it emerged that Tres had been padded up and would have batted if needed. Further evidence if it was needed of the spirit in this somerset side.
This was, on reflection, a draw that seemed like a win. Whereas last season the pre-lunch collapse would have precipitated something terminal, this one did not. That, above all else, is hugely encouraging for all Somerset fans this evening.