Tea Report: Lancashire 221-9 declared v Somerset 238 & 209-5 (62 overs)
Tea on the fourth day (Somerset won toss)
Saturday 26 April 2008
A fly on the wall of the Lancashire dressing room would doubtless have been privy to some interesting comments after the news came out that Brad Hodge, their overseas player for this season, is missing the next five weeks of the English season to play in the Indian Premier League.
The Australian, an outstanding Twenty20 player, had said in March that he would not be playing in the lucrative new competition on the sub-continent this year but after being approached by Kolkata Knight Riders he has changed his mind.
The Knight Riders need reinforcements, with Ricky Ponting and Brendon McCullum due to join up with their national squads next week, and Hodge found himself unable to turn them down. Lancashire say they are "disappointed" but 33-year-old Hodge thanked them for sympathising with his situation and agreeing to grant a temporary release from his contract. He said he hopes to "repay them on the field" when he comes back, just in time for domestic Twenty20 action for his county.
They have no plans to sign a replacement for Hodge, content to give another existing squad member a chance to step up.
Hodge, by coincidence, bowled the last over of the afternoon session, at the end of which Somerset are 226 in front with five wickets down and 34 of the day's scheduled overs remaining, a situation that points towards a draw. Given the loss of Friday's play to the weather, this was always the likeliest outcome.
Justin Langer, the Somerset captain, has top scored with 76 after surviving a torrid examination by Andrew Flintoff and Saj Mahmood. Flintoff bowled only eight overs but still managed to hit the Australian in the ribs and on the forearm. Mahmood was unlucky more than once as Langer rode his luck before a miscued pull off Glen Chapple saw the batsman caught at gully.
Chapple also uprooted James Hildreth's middle stump and had Peter Trego caught by Flintoff at second slip to earn tea figures of 4-49 from 13 overs at tea.
Read more about Hodge's departure in tomorrow's Independent on Sunday.
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