Lancashire’s 302-1 off just 59 overs make Somerset’s 441 look less impressive on a flat one at Taunton.
Keaton Jennings with 124* to add to half-centuries in both previous rounds of this Ashes interrupted Championship campaign.
Luke Wells’ 82 off 109 balls set the tone making it easy for Josh Bohannon to cream 73* against an injured and weary Somerset attack missing Mr Overton and Mr Davey.
The away side surged to batting bonus points that Somerset missed out on due to their difference in scoring rate, and they still have 51 overs left to add more batting points tomorrow.
From 311-4 overnight, James Rew reached 117 before a man who was playing for England before his victim was born…Jimmy Anderson had him caught behind. 324-5 from 80-4 a mammoth recovery from Rew and captain Tom Abell.
Gregory faced 18 balls for one cracking cover drive for four and a single, before was plumb lbw and then Aldridge was caught behind for 14 to give Anderson the first three this morning and another first-class five-fer.
As I wandered around for a pleasant but chilly lap with the new commentary radio earpiece attached (thanks Vertu Motors) George Balderson remarked (from fine leg) how he was struggling from the River End with the sandy patch under his run up to delivery stride.
Then remarking: “I’m not going to get a bowl at this end am I” referencing the MTP end which Anderson and fellow internationals Colin De Grandhomme and Saqib Mahmood had bowled from.
He did get Abell for his first wicket of the campaign-Abell’s first-class best (by a whisker) 151 after his 150 at the Oval last summer.
Saqib Mahmood did not pick up what should have been a simple catch at long off, bowled by Hartley, gone for four-the most criminal offense from a boundary rider to not even touch the ball-over his head for four! Leach going full Lara swatting straight sixes, over cover for four, over deep midwicket’s head for six et al.
Even Siddle smashed a six and Brooks hit a couple of one bounce fours. In fact from 393-9 to 441 all out, a 48-run partnership for the 10th wicket really frustrating Jimmy and co.
Somerset’s seam attack minus Craig Overton and Josh Davey looked even less potent than in their fortunate rain-saved draw here v Warwickshire and at Trent Bridge in defeat last week.
After few chances created by the seamers, Leach was turned to early and the first three balls of his second over went 4,4,6. All with reverse sweeps by Luke Wells to the shorter boundary at the Somerset stand/retirement flat side. 15 off the over after his first was a maiden.
Wells raced to 52 off 78 balls (eight fours and two sixes) before the 24th over and Leach’s third was completed from the river end.
Wells then smashed Leach onto the top tier boxes of the Lord Ian Botham Stand as the sunshine was out three hours after the first downpour of the day was long overdue.
100 in 26 overs from the opening pair.
Jennings was more sedate, reaching 50 off 105 balls with seven fours to add to his triple-hundred 333 at Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club against Somerset last summer.
The two left-handers proceeded to crash it all around the Cooper Associates County Ground until literally the stroke of tea. Reminding me of Phil Mustard and Mark Stoneman reaching 211-0 in July 2015 against the white ball before Leach and Overton earnt their scalps.
In 1974 the 265 between Barry Wood and David (Bumble) Lloyd saw Lancashire’s highest opening partnership. But just as these records were being analysed Somerset were gifted a breakthrough.
The leg gully trap worked with an innocuous delivery from Jack Brooks guided to Sean Dickson to prompt tea five balls early just after 4pm. Wells out for 82 when really he should have whacked it for four, 154-1.
Aldridge worryingly went down come 5pm, clutching his left hamstring during his eighth over. Josh Bohannon jumped to his aid stretching it out, Umpire Russell Warren helping out too, all much to the amusement of his senior bowling teammates.
Picked to bowl due to injuries to Overton and Davey, and with Abell and Lammonby not yet fit to bowl and no Goldsworthy in the top six, particularly worrying that he could not get through even nine overs.
Bohannon (73*) continued where Wells left off, memorably slog sweeping Leach into the Somerset Stand, just 16.5 overs required for the 100 partnership with Jennings.
One positive for Somerset, though perhaps forced, was to see Lammonby back bowling after ankle surgery and a recent back twinge, though maybe not so positive that his first ball was a filthy long hop, 16 off his first over.
Before Lammonby could bowl a second over, bad light stopped play at 18.12, 302-1.