Lancashire v Somerset, Old Trafford, 3rd day May 6, 2010

Trego tilts the game towards Somerset

Jon Culley at Old Trafford

Lancashire 292 and 32 for 0 trail Somerset 383 by 59 runs

The career paths of cricketers do not always run along predictable lines and it is fair to say that Peter Trego's is unique.

Born in Weston-super-Mare, he made his first-class debut for Somerset at 18 and went to Sri Lanka with England's under-19s the following winter but from there things rather petered out. Somerset let him go and a move to Kent came to nothing and for a while he was out of the game, supplementing his income from a variety of jobs by playing non-League football. He was a goalkeeper, at which his claims to fame were an appearance on Match of the Day playing for Chippenham and scoring a goal in the Conference for Margate, from a free-kick in his own half.

Maybe this is why he plays cricket with the air of a man who knows he has been lucky to have a second chance, as Somerset gave him when they engaged him again in 2006. When he hits a cricket ball - and he gives it a hefty thump - you imagine he is doing so out of the joy of being on the field.

Not that his ambitions are modest. He still wants to play for a senior England side and in that respect he advertised his credentials impressively enough on the third day here, hitting the fastest century of the season so far in a manner that was typical - bold, risky, fortunate and, so far as Lancashire were concerned, painfully effective.

Reaching three figures in just 83 balls - his second 50 coming off a mere 26 - he set the pace in a scorching partnership with James Hildreth that has given Somerset the upper hand, even though, thanks to the gloomy weather here, time is working against a positive result.

The experience was all the more difficult to stomach for Lancashire in that they dropped Trego not once but twice before he had completed his first 50. He should have gone at 22, when an ugly pull went straight to Glen Chapple, the captain, at mid on only to end up on the floor. Daren Powell was the bowler and it was not his best delivery but he did produce a much better one to find the edge when Trego was on 40. This time Paul Horton, at first slip, seemed to have the ball in his hands but again it spilled out.

With those escapes behind him, Trego really let loose, doubling his boundary count to 16 as he rushed to his hundred, his first away from Somerset, all of the others having come at Taunton or Bath, including that astonishing effort of just 54 deliveries against Yorkshire last season as Somerset chased down an improbable 476 to win.

Powell got him in the end, picking up his first first-class wicket for Lancashire as Trego attempted another pull through mid-wicket but miscued the ball to mid-off instead. Chapple held it safely this time, to the relief and amusement of his teammates.

The partnership with Hildreth added 186 in just 32 overs. "I've still got ambitions to play for England in some format this summer," Trego said afterwards.

Up on the balcony, Peter Moores, the Lancashire coach, may have been less inclined to chuckle, not least because by then Hildreth had also been dropped twice, if somewhat more forgivably. Second slip got his fingertips to a chance when the batsman was on 62 and there was another half-chance on 78 to square leg, where the substitute fielder, Luke Procter, flung out a hand but could not manage to hold on.

The cost was not quite so heavy this time but Hildreth nonetheless moved to 99 before missing out on a hundred to enormous frustration, when he seemed to think about running the ball down to third man off Chapple's bowling, then appeared to change his mind not quite decisively enough, consequently getting a nick that Luke Sutton pouched behind the stumps.

The last three wickets did not add significantly to the total but the damage was largely done as Somerset advanced to a lead of 97 on first innings and Lancashire reflected on bowling figures that had taken a hefty hit, the price for offering too much width on a pitch that offered the batsmen a chance when the bowler strayed off line. Kyle Hogg, who had looked sharp and mean the day before and was 3 for 44 from 20 overs overnight, finished with 4 for 96 from 30.2. Chapple's three wickets cost 146. Saj Mahmood, still off the field with a sore calf, would have got good bounce, you fancy, and been a handful if he had his direction right.

Sutton, after his first-innings hundred, kept his place at the top of the Lancashire order despite 102 overs in the field but bad light hindered the home side as they set about trimming the arrears and a draw looks the likeliest outcome.