You have to applaud the ECB for embracing flexibility in their new approach to hours of play, which at last acknowledges that the object of the exercise is to get in as much cricket as possible, and preferably in neat, two-hour chunks, mimicking Test matches.
However, spectators are going to be awfully confused at times. And goodness knows what the caterers make of it...
Yesterday, after a slight delay in mopping up a wet outfield, play began at 11.15am and lunch was set for 1.15pm. Today, with more rain about, play was supposed to start at 11.30am (in the event, it did not begin until 12.30pm after a heavy shower) and lunch was scheduled for 1.30pm. Visions come to mind of kitchen staff rushing into the players' dining room bearing trays of hot food only to find nobody there...
There may have been a few rumbling stomachs on the field, too, although Somerset will have tucked in with the greater gusto after a decent fightback this morning.
The overcast conditions helped the ball swing and no one took better advantage than Mark Turner, the 24-year-old former England under-19 pace bowler in his second season with Somerset after finding chances with his home county, Durham.
In a lively six-over spell at the Stretford End, Turner broke Lancashire's opening partnership at 66 by dismissing Iain Sutcliffe with a ball that swung in late, then claimed an important second lbw to remove Mal Loye for four. He almost bagged another big scalp when an edge from Stuart Law, then on two, fell just short of Marcus Trescothick at second slip.
When Brad Hodge then followed a ball from Charl Willoughby, the left-armer, to be caught behind in the next over, Lancashire had slipped from 66-0 to 85-3. Paul Horton, with a half-century containing 10 boundaries, had guided them to 103-3 when the folk in the Old Trafford kitchens were finally required.Reuse content