Somerset v Lancashire, Taunton, 1st day September 24, 2008

Trego keeps Somerset fighting

Lancashire 56 for 4 (Loye 26*, Keedy 0*) trail Somerset 202 (Trego 81, Newby 4-72) by 146 runs

Peter Trego on his way to a battling 81 © PA Photos
For Somerset, events 150 miles north at Trent Bridge are more important than their own, but all they can do is try and win their final match against Lancashire to keep in the Championship race. When they were 72 for 5 before lunch, on a green seamer hard to distinguish from the outfield, their prospects were fading fast, however Peter Trego hauled them over 200 with 81 before Andrew Caddick and Charl Willoughby ripped out Lancashire's top order.

To have any chance of claiming the title Somerset need victory so couldn't afford a bland surface. It left Justin Langer a hostage to the toss. He lost it, then had to watch his main batsmen fall apart to a mixture of seam movement and poor shot selection. But it isn't the first time this season a match has looked like a low-scoring affair early on, only for the surface to quieten down. Peter Walker, the pitch inspector, said he was perfectly happy with the surface and Somerset will hope it remains lively enough to make it a one-innings contest. So far, they have pulled it around admirably.

To still be reasonably placed, though, they have to thank Trego who passed 800 runs for the season. Coming in at No. 6, after Somerset opted to strengthen their bowling by replacing Arul Suppiah with Steffan Jones, he played in an uncomplicated manner, adding 41 with Jones and 51 with Caddick, who clubbed 24 to warm-up for his main duties. Trego was dropped at slip, by Paul Horton, on 27, but his driving was strong, while his defence was solid - something not always the case with the top five.

The redevelopment of the county ground is rapidly taking shape and the day before this game one of the new stands was named after Marcus Trescothick - who celebrated with a third ball duck. However, while Trescothick is clearly worthy of the honour, so too is Caddick after years of pounding in on some of best batting surfaces in the country.

Tom Smith dismisses Ian Blackwell during the morning session, but Somerset fought back impressively © PA Photos
Presented with a pitch offering plenty of encouragement, Caddick took out Paul Horton and Karl Brown with lifting deliveries outside off stump. He was far from impressed about being left out last week against Yorkshire, and won't have been shy about saying as much. There are still a number of stands to be named; if Caddick doesn't get one he will surely let people know what he thinks.

To cap Somerset's fight back Willoughby pushed one across Stuart Law to have him taken at second slip, then removed Mark Chilton's off stump. Lancashire are by no means safe, yet. Seven points is their magical mark and it will take some batting to reach that in bonuses, but for them events at Hove are important so Yorkshire's late collapse will have eased a few concerns.

Both innings have so far followed similar paths with the top-order struggling. Trescothick paid the price for trying to work through midwicket, making his last three innings scores of 0, 1 and 0. Langer was caught behind when Glen Chapple found his outside edge and any hope Somerset had that the pitch would offer less than it appeared vanished. When Oliver Newby jagged a ball back at James Hildreth, to brush the edge as he tried to leave, Somerset's batting line-up was starting to look very short.

Tom Smith claimed two in the middle order before lunch and after the break, in the same over that Trego was handed is costly left-off, Craig Kieswetter got a top edge to a rash pull off Newby. Alfonso Thomas was trapped lbw by Chapple, who gave him a little send-off after having a previous appeal turned down, but there were signs that conditions were easing.

The seam movement was less extravagant, allowing Trego and Jones to get onto the front foot during their stand of 41. Trego went to his half-century off 76 balls before Jones drove to cover as the ball again stopped in the surface. It was Newby's fourth wicket, due reward for hard-working spells from the Old Pavilion End. But he couldn't quite claim his first five-wicket haul for Lancashire as Gary Keedy removed Trego to claim his first Championship wicket since August 22. Trego, though, has given his team a chance even if the final outcome is still out of their hands.

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo