Kieswetter helps Somerset to useful lead
Somerset 350 for 8 v Lancashire 259
Craig Kieswetter hit his highest County Championship score of the season as Somerset moved into a strong position against Lancashire at Taunton. The England one-day international made 84 off 80 balls, with nine fours and a six, to help his side to 350 for 8 - a lead of 91 runs, by the time heavy rain ended play an hour early.
Gary Keedy took five for 81 to reduce the home side to 276 for eight before an unbroken stand of 74 between Ben Phillips (29 not out) and Murali Kartik (37 not out) took Somerset to a fourth batting point.
The hosts began the day on 54 for 1 and lost Arul Suppiah without adding to his overnight score of 13 as he edged a catch to wicketkeeper Gareth Cross off Tom Smith. It was 71 for 3 when night-watchman Alfonso Thomas was bowled playing across a delivery from Sajid Mahmood and batting was looking far from easy.
Nick Compton and James Hildreth had to play watchfully to take the total to 128 and seemed to have done the hard work when Hildreth fell lbw for 26 trying to sweep Keedy. It was 133 for 4 at lunch with Compton unbeaten on 41. He had added eight to his score in the afternoon session when looking unlucky to be judged lbw playing well forward to Luke Procter.
Kieswetter and Peter Trego (51) then ensured Somerset of first innings lead with some typically positive batting in a sixth-wicket stand of 111 in 21 overs. Trego, fresh from his first one-day century at the weekend, moved to fifty with a swept boundary off Simon Kerrigan, having faced 66 balls and hit seven fours.
Then a momentary lapse in concentration saw him fall lbw to Keedy pushing forward and Somerset were only 12 runs ahead when Jos Buttler went leg-before first ball on his 20th birthday. Kieswetter had produced some superb strokes, including a six over wide long-off off Keedy, and some meaty leg-side blows.
But in the latter part of his innings he began to play more one-day shots and that cost him his wicket as he was caught behind opening the face to the left-arm spinner. Keedy appeared to have ripped the heart out of the Somerset batting, but Lancashire took the new ball when Kartik joined Phillips and both played above their lowly positions in the batting order.
Neither gave a chance as they gradually built on the slender advantage. Kartik hit a six over long-off and Phillips a straight six in the same Kerrigan over as their important partnership blossomed.