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Myles Hodgson at Aigburth
August 2, 2012
Lancashire 185 (Prince 51, Thomas 4-63, Trego 4-49) lead Somerset 149 (Hildreth 45, Chapple 3-38, Kerrigan 3-47) by 36 runs
Gary Keedy may have been displaced as Lancashire's No. 1 spinner this summer but it has not stopped him remaining an influential member of their squad and his pre-match pep talk allowed Simon Kerrigan to play a key role in establishing a crucial first innings lead over Somerset.
The emergence of Kerrigan, who is just 23, has restricted Keedy to just two championship matches this summer while Lancashire have battled to preserve their first division status less than 12 months after winning the championship. Far from become bitter by the experience, however, Keedy is helping with the development of his younger rival.
Having enjoyed some success against Somerset himself in the past, Keedy passed on his advice before the start of the second day and Kerrigan responded by claiming 3 for 47 to help secure a crucial 36-run lead. After the disappointment of being dismissed for only 185 earlier in the day, it was just the tonic Lancashire needed in a match which may prove key towards preserving their first division status.
"We work really well together and we bowl every day with each other in the nets, so you know how each other works," explained Kerrigan. "He was talking about how the Somerset players are likely to play and how he's got them out in the past.
"It's really good for him to pass on that sort of experience and secrets about opposition players. I think the last couple of times he's played against them he has got wickets at Taunton, so he knows how to bowl at them. They are quite aggressive players and it's quite useful get a few tips on that."
Keedy's advice came to the fore during the afternoon session after Lancashire's tail crumbled against the accurate seam bowling of Alfonso Thomas. Their last five wickets fell for 56 runs in only 17.1 overs, with Thomas grabbing 3 for 16 in 30 balls, and but for a mature innings of 24 from Andrea Agathangelou on his championship debut, their prospects would have been even bleaker.
Having watched Thomas cause so many problems under cloudy skies, Lancashire turned to their own expert in such conditions and Glen Chapple, their veteran captain, delivered. Arul Suppiah was bowled off an inside edge to the sixth ball of Somerset's reply and Marcus Trescothick, playing his first championship innings since April 13 following an ankle injury, made only one before giving a leading edge to gully.
Perhaps the crucial breakthrough of the session was made by Kerrigan, however, when he halted Nick Compton's innings. He unwisely attempted to sweep and fell lbw to end a productive 48-run stand with James Hildreth. It was also a notable dismissal for another landmark - he was Kerrigan's 100th first class victim in only his 31st match.
Switching to the River End, Kerrigan found some turn just outside off-stump, which aided in the demise of Craig Kieswetter when he sliced to point while Thomas became another lbw victim shuffling across his stumps. At the other end, Lancashire's seamers were equally effective with Ajmal Shahzad benefitting from a break in Hildreth's concentration after a delay in changing a mis-shaped ball to knock back his off-stump.
He also ended a potentially dangerous quickfire 17 from Peter Trego, who hit successive balls before also giving leading edge two balls later, while Kyle Hogg exploited the first signs of uneven bounce to bowl Gemaal Hussain with a full-length ball that kept low. By the time Chapple shattered last man Steve Kirby's stumps in the final over of the day, Lancashire had secured a narrow first innings lead that may prove crucial.
"It was nice to get a lead and it could be pivotal," said Kerrigan. "There have been a couple of times this year when we've let things slip away from us, so it was good to build the pressure on them like we did. Getting bowled out for 185, we knew we had to bowl well and we have now given ourselves a chance."
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