Somerset v Lancashire, Taunton, 4th day July 1, 2014

Horton recovers to seal Lancashire draw


Lancashire 266 (Horton 140, Thomas 3-34, Dockrell 3-48, Gregory 3-65)) and 251 for 5 (Khawaja 60, Croft 59*) drew with Somerset 484 (Trescothick 128, C Overton 99, Petersen 73, Kerrigan 4-168)

This stalemate neither ruins Somerset's title chances nor puts a serious dampener on Lancashire's hopes of achieving a great escape from relegation. But after three days of cut and thrust cricket that were fascinating to watch if, perhaps, not always thrilling to take part in, the final chapter rather dribbled to its conclusion.

There were several top quality performances. For the visitors, opener Paul Horton made a terrific century at the start of the game and then, having been forced to retire hurt on the third evening following a blow to the head and still nursing a sore head today, batted splendidly again in the middle order to help seal the draw alongside the in-form Steven Croft.

And for the hosts, Marcus Trescothick set the standard with his third hundred of the season, Craig Overton was just one run away from reaching three figures for the first time and Alfonso Thomas bowled with great skill, and enormous heart, in both innings. But if there was a weak link on view then that had to be the pitch.

This dry and previously used surface turned all the way through, which shouldn't worry anyone because it was not excessive. But it lacked pace and carry from the start and deadened to such an extent that Lancashire batted out the final few hours with plenty of skill and application but without the scares and alarms usually associated with a rearguard action.

The bottom line, table-wise, is that Somerset slip a place to fourth. But they are level on points with Warwickshire and only 23 points behind leaders Notts, having played one fewer game. At the other end, Lancashire are out of the relegation places, albeit only just with Sussex seven points behind and having a match in hand.

A win, though, would have been like gold dust for both these teams. "We are disappointed because I thought there was a very good chance we could knock them over today," said Trescothick. "But the wicket was a bit too slow (for spinner George Dockrell) and the seamers couldn't get any energy out of it.

"The pitch was slower than what we would normally want and what you normally expect here. The pitches we've produced for the last couple of championship games have been ideal with seamers and spinners getting wickets and people batting on them as well. We haven't quite got this one right.

"But we put ourselves into a position where we thought we could win and I thought we played the game absolutely brilliantly and very consistently."

Trescothick admitted that, with hindsight, a second spinner would have been handy. It is doubtful, though, whether even that option would have done for Lancashire - given that Dockrell had only two wickets to show for 40 overs of hard slog.

The young Irishman removed international batsmen Usman Khawaja and Ashwell Prince either side of lunch, having had both men missed earlier in the day off a difficult stumping opportunity and an even harder outfield chance spilled by Overton. But it was Thomas, who had match figures of 44-14-69-6, who came closest to barging though Lancashire's resolve.

In consecutive overs, Thomas had Jos Buttler edging a loose drive against his old county and Tom Smith snicking one that left him - both catches being taken by Craig Kieswetter on the day the wicketkeeper signed a new three year contract. Lancashire were then 159 for five, still 59 runs behind and with 50 overs remaining.

But then back into the fray walked Horton, and apart from one almost impossible 'chance' drilled at Trescothick neither he nor the excellent Croft (who has now made 410 runs in his last four completed innings) looked like buckling during an unbroken alliance that spanned 37 overs. Horton was still feeling slightly groggy this morning, which is why he did not re-appear until the visitors were five down, but he looked happy enough in the middle.

The draw was agreed an hour early, leaving Lancashire captain Glen Chapple ultimately relieved but still wondering what might have been. "We are playing some good cricket and have fought hard for a draw but earlier in the game we would have fancied our chances of winning," he said.

"Now we have five games left and we are still in touch but we have to start winning again."

David Lloyd is a former chief cricket correspondent of PA and the Evening Standard

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul on July 3, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Kerrigan's figures looked a lot less clever when they were 2-140. Then young Overton fell to a self-confessed stupid swipe when on 99. With the last pair at the wicket Thomas threw the bat and eventually succeeded in sending a huge slog into orbit, only to see it splash down a while later in Ashwell Prince's hands.

    Hey presto! Kerrigan has 4-162, figures which were still terrible on that wicket.

    He lacked any of the venom shown by Dockrell, mainly because he couldn't extract the same bounce owing to his lack of height in comparison. He was also inaccurate far too often. Most, if not all, the 24 byes came off his bowling. Some were due to Buttler's jerky reactions, but plenty would have been called wide in one-day cricket.

    As regards what happened to the pitch, it eventually behaved like one of those you often see on the Sub-continent, where it's turning square on day 1 and you think, this'll be over in three days. But instead of breaking up, it just gets slower and slower.

  • Martin on July 3, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    The 2 stumpings that Kieswetter fluffed in the morning cost us dear.

    Would also love to see Jack Leach playing. He bowled well last year.

  • John on July 3, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    @Henrik Lovén on (July 3, 2014, 9:15 GMT) So you're not in agreement that the pitch got easier to bat on? I'd say the stats (from both sides) tell their own story. So you're saying that the only reason Somerset scored quicker on the 3rd day was because the Lancs bowlers were tired? Do you not think generally fluent players like Tres and Alviro wouldn't have scored faster if the pitch wasn't so tough to score on?

    As I said re Kerrigan - Maybe Paul is correct in that he looked poor despite his figures. Surely we've all watched cricket for long enough to know that you can bowl well one day and not get the figures and terrible the next but somehow end up with a bunch of wickets. All Paul said was that he looked out of his depth. Obviously if you went to the game then your opinion would be as valid but surely Paul's opinion on what happened on the field in a game he went to is more valid than both yours and mine

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    JG2704, easier to bat on? 1st day 221-6 from 87 = 2.54. 2nd day 238-6 from 94.4 = 2.51. 3rd day 350-8 from 93.1 = 3.75. 4th day 192-5 from 83 = 2.31. The only anomaly is the comparatively heavy scoring on the third day and that is explained more by tiredness of the Lancashire bowlers the last 50 overs of the mammoth 154.1 overs long Somerset inns than by the pitch getting easier. At least you and I were in agreement after the second day that it would be very difficult to get a decisive lead quickly enough to get the opposition out twice.

    As for Paul, if a bowler who has taken 28 wickets this season and takes 4-168 from 50+ overs in a mammoth inns of 154 overs at a fraction over the inns avge scoring rate looks "hopelessly out of his depth in Div. One", there is something seriously wrong with the observer's powers of observation. There is definitely a bias here and the kindest interpretation is that it's sour grapes, wouldn't you agree?

  • John on July 3, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    @Henrik Lovén on (July 3, 2014, 7:19 GMT) Did you actually go to the game?

    I respect Paul's comments because unlike me he goes to most of the games he comments on and maybe Kerrigan didn't look that great despite his figures so I wouldn't say sour grapes - just a guy commenting on what he saw.

    re "Well, this match panned out very much the way everyone foresaw"

    I totally disagree. Comments on this match after day 2 were that it was a very tricky pitch to bat on and that getting a lead of 100 would be hard work and even chasing 100 on the 4th inns might be tricky. Guessing from the scorecard that the pitch improved as scoring from both sides became more fluent and Somerset didn't even bat again but I didn't see comms saying that the pitch would become easier to bat on

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    Well, this match panned out very much the way everyone foresaw. As for the championship, even second-from-bottom Sussex could walk away with the title as they are only 48 points behind Notts and have a game in hand. Third-placed Warwicks are only 25 points ahead of Sussex, so everything is still possible. From now on, every single game will be of huge importance!

    Paul, your comment about Kerrigan and White is out of order and in the case of Kerrigan, not borne out by facts. First of all, Somerset's batting is stronger than Lancashire's but Kerrigan still managed 4-168 from 51.1 in Somerset's mammoth innings whilst your international spinner, Dockrell, had 5-118 from 56.4 on his home pitch. Furthermore, Kerrigan has taken 28 this season and only Thomas of your bowlers has more. Sour grapes...

  • Paul on July 2, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    Somerset definitely missed a second spinner, with Alviro Petersen wandering off the field mid-morning and never returning. In the end Pete Trego was bowling off breaks.

    It was particularly frustrating that Petersen's replacement was Jack Leach, who was at least as good as Dockrell last year, but who hasn't been given a single game by Nosworthy this season.

    But well batted, Lancs. Usman Khawaja eventually found some fluency, which would make the Lancs batting look a lot tighter going forward. On the evidence of this game it's the bowling that needs strengthening. White and Kerrigan looked hopelessly out of their depths in Div. One.

  • John on July 2, 2014, 20:05 GMT

    Feels like a defeat as a Somerset fan but all credit to Lancs here. I commented earlier in the game about the slow progress but was advised by live fans that it was a very difficult pitch. I suggested putting Trego up the order. I guess the pitch basically became easier for both sides although I noticed that in Somerset's inns when Trego was in with Kies , Trego's SR suggested he was more fluent. This is the 2nd time we've been well on top of Lancs this season and come out only with a draw. At least this time we were denied by Lancs fight rather than the weather. I feel that's our championship dreams over with as I said before the day started (if we didn't win)

  • Android on July 2, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    Well if we do go down again at leasr I can look forward to a week in Colwyn Bay.

  • Android on July 2, 2014, 18:18 GMT

    Well if we do go down again at least I can look forward to a week in Colwyn Bay.

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