Davies promotion highlights Lancashire problems
Lancashire 22 for 2 trail Somerset 420 (Peterson 109*, Compton 91, Trescothick 55, Kerrigan 3-94) by 398 runs
Some counties decide to go through a first-class season without a previously prolific overseas batsman; others opt to give a young opener the opportunity to become established in the order. One or two teams try to cope without a proven run-scorer coming in third or fourth wicket down; a few even reckon that they can prosper without a recognised No. 3.
Lancashire, the brave souls, are attempting to manage all of these things at once.
So far, the four-card trick is not going well. Last week's resilience in the Roses match apart, Glen Chapple's team has not passed 300 in the first innings of a Division One match this season. Five batsmen given reasonable opportunities in the top order average below 15 in County Championship games.
One of them, the 23-year-old opener Luis Reece was dropped for this game against Somerset and it said something about the present paucity of Lancastrian batting resources that Reece's replacement was the 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Davies, who, having kept for 127.1 overs in his eighth first-class game, joined one of the larger clubs in county cricket: people who have opened the batting with Paul Horton.
It should be said immediately that Davies would have been very much up for the challenge of facing Alfonso Thomas and Peter Trego on a good batting pitch which nevertheless offered bounce and movement to seamers prepared to put the effort in. For in the best cricketing sense, Davies relishes a fight. It was no particular surprise that it was Horton and Andrea Agathangelou who departed in the first four overs of the innings, lbw to Thomas and Trego respectively.
Davies is one of the five Lancashire batsmen to have scored a first-class fifty in 2014; by present criteria, he is in prime form. When persistent heavy showers brought an early end to play at three o'clock, he was unbeaten on 12 and Ashwell Prince was 8 not out. Chapple's men still need 249 runs to avoid the follow on.
How Lancashire must wish they could call on the quality of batting resources displayed by Somerset in this game. The visitors could afford to be a little profligate by losing seven wickets for 108 runs in an extended morning session on Monday and yet still muster 420 in their first innings.
Much of the credit for that total should go to the ils ne passseront pas obduracy of Nick Compton and the palpable class of Alviro Petersen. The pair's 193-run third wicket stand enabled their side to go into the second morning well-placed on 312 for 3 and Petersen added six more pedigree boundaries to his overnight total before cutting Simon Kerrigan to Karl Brown at backward point when he had made 155.
By that stage, though, Somerset had also lost Alex Barrow, Craig Kieswetter and Trego to the impressive Lancashire seamers and slow left-armer Kerrigan claimed his 200th first-class wicket ten minutes later when Thomas also holed out to the same fielder in the same position. The final landmark of the morning was reached when Chapple pinned Craig Overton on the crease to take the 950th wicket of his distinguished career in his 301st match.
Nevertheless, while Somerset may have aspired to a total in excess of 500 when the second day began, being bowled out for a hundred or so fewer runs might assist them in the long term. Unsettled weather is forecast for the next two days and Marcus Trescothick's bowlers have 18 wickets to take.