Lunch Report: Lancashire 221-9 declared v Somerset 238 & 79-1 (29 overs)

Lunch on the fourth day (Somerset won toss), plus, Brad Hodge joins IPL

After no play yesterday, it is difficult to see a positive outcome here. By declaring 17 runs behind - where they were when the rain set in on Thursday - Lancashire captain Stuart Law has challenged his bowlers to test Somerset's mettle in the hope of inducing a collapse and the chance of a short run-chase later.

They have done that all right, particularly Andrew Flintoff, who followed up four overs at the Brian Statham (nee Warwick Road) End with a brilliantly hostile spell of the same duration at the Stretford End, during which he had both Marcus Trescothick and Justin Langer in trouble and struck the Australian a painful blow on the elbow.

However, Somerset have weathered the storm to be only one wicket down at lunch, with another dropped catch to fret about after wicketkeeper Luke Sutton moved a fair way to his left only to put down John Francis off Glen Chapple when the opener has scored only three runs.

It did not prove too costly. When Chapple switched to the Stretford End after a tight opening spell from James Anderson (6-4-2-0), Francis soon gave Sutton the chance to make amends.

Off the field, the big news here this morning is that Brad Hodge, Lancashire's overseas player, has been released from his contract to join Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League with immediate effect, having been tempted by an offer received in the last 24-48 hours.

Hodge said in March that he would not be playing in the IPL this season but clearly the lure of a lucrative short-term contract has proved too great. Lancashire said they were "disappointed" but will have him back when his IPL deal ends in five weeks' time, when Hodge says he "hopes to repay them on the field" for showing sympathy to his situation.

Read more about this story in tomorrow's Independent on Sunday.

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