Somerset v Lancashire, Taunton, 3rd day April 28, 2012

Compton survives Chapple test

Somerset 87 for 3 trail Lancashire 400 (Croft 113, Philander 5-71) by 313

It was a day that could be seen as a microcosm of the season as a whole so far: wickets fell regularly amid the showers but Nick Compton survived. Compton has now passed 700 first-class runs this season, faced more than 1,400 deliveries and averages 143. He is not so much nudging the selectors as grabbing them by the throat and roaring in their faces.

He did not have things all his own way here, though. Glen Chapple, generating good pace and gaining a little seam movement, uncovered an uncertainty rarely seen this season to date. Twice outsides edges from Compton's bat dropped in front of the slip cordon and once Compton's inside edge just missed his leg stump on its way to the fine-leg boundary. There was also a leg-before appeal that must have been perilously close. But he survived and later produced two boundaries in successive balls - one a flowing cover drive - off Sajid Mahmood.

Such was Chapple's desire to dismiss Compton early, he was lured into a ten-over opening spell. Very good it was, too, producing the wickets of stand-in opener Lewis Gregory, drawn into pushing at one he could have left, and Arul Suppiah, driving expansively and beaten through the gate. But it also meant Chapple was unable to return for a second spell for some time and, in his absence, batting was an altogether more straightforward business.

James Hildreth, sweeping Simon Kerrigan's left-arm spin sweetly, flattered briefly before playing across a straight one, but Compton looked untroubled against all but Chapple.

Earlier Vernon Philander claimed his second five-wicket haul in three Championship games for Somerset, but could not stop Lancashire claiming full batting bonus points. It took only nine balls for Somerset to finish off Lancashire - Kerrigan caught in the gully fending at one from Philander - but by then the fifth point was secure.

Such incidentals may not seem important now but, bearing in mind the competitive nature of the Championship title race in recent years, points earned in such situations may yet prove vital. Somerset supporters will long be pained by memories of 2010 when they finished level on points with Nottinghamshire, but missed out on the title because Nottinghamshire had won one more game.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo