Tea Report: Lancashire v Somerset 195-7 (64 overs)
Tea on the first day (Somerset won toss)
Wednesday 23 April 2008
Extraordinarily, after overnight rain and a damp, delayed start this morning (albeit only by 15 minutes), the sun has been so strong this afternoon that there are people sitting around in shirt sleeves. Those in the front row of the press box, pondering whether to decamp to the back row, out of the glare, have to decide whether the unusual sensation of feeling warm outweighs the headache being brought on by squinting into a computer screen that you can't actually see.
On the field, Lancashire are gradually taking the upper hand. Marcus Trescothick ran out of luck on 77 and no other Somerset batsman has been able to pick up the baton.
The former England opener, still not a batsman to look a gift horse in the mouth, had three escapes before lunch, indeed before he reached 50. In his measured way, Mike Watkinson, the Lancashire cricket manager, would probably describe the morning as "disappointing".
He would have been disappointed in particular with his captain, Stuart Law, who dropped Tresco at second slip off Jimmy Anderson when he was on 10, and with Simon Marshall, the leg-spinner picked ahead of Gary Keedy, who spilled another fairly straightforward chance at backward point - off Freddie Flintoff - when he was 46. Brad Hodge also missed him on 32 at gully - again off Freddie - although on that occasion the ball was travelling at some speed and the Aussie did well even to get a hand to it.
It was the Anderson-Law combination that finally did the trick, although by that time the big left-hander, who had willingly attacked anything even marginally off straight on what looked a decent pitch, had plundered a dozen boundaries.
Otherwise, it has been good day for Lancashire's bowlers, not least Flintoff, who has bowled two spells of eight overs each and looks in good fettle. What's more, after the two drops in his first spell, he has picked up a couple of wickets, sorting Peter Trego out with a leg-cutter he could only edge to the wicketkeeper, and then pinning Craig Kieswetter leg before. Freddie went to tea with figures of 8-3-21-2 for his second spell, 16-6-40-2 overall.
There has been success, too, for Saj Mahmood, who went for 12 runs in his first over this morning but has been tighter since, and for Marshall, who marked his first appearance in the Championship since August 2006 by being no-balled for a beamer with his first delivery but later removed Ben Phillips with the aid of Anderson's catch at mid-wicket. Once 93-2, Somerset lost their next five wickets for 100 exactly.
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