Wasim inspires Lancashire's best

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The Independent Online
Lancashire 429 Somerset 161 and 152-4

Wasim Akram is taking his new duties as Lancashire captain so seriously that he could lead them to an innings victory inside three days. Who needs Watkinson, Atherton and Crawley?

Wasim completed a responsible innings, taking all of 86 balls over his 61 and restricting himself to two sixes and nine fours. Having imposed a curfew on the team he then insisted they bat out the innings, Somerset finally seeing the end of the tail at 1l.36am.

Wasim opened the bowling on a wearing surface. Mark Lathwell and Peter Bowler prospered so well that they were steaming along at five an over. Wasim stared imperiously at both batsmen - and at his bowlers - and just as Somerset seemed likely to lunch unhindered Glen Chapple bent his long frame down to his left and picked up a return catch from Lathwell ankle high.

Wasim called up his 20-year-old left-arm spinner Gary Keedy and in the space of four overs the young Yorkshireman wrecked the innings. He first deceived Andy Hayhurst, drawing him and then taking his middle stump and with successive balls after lunch had Richard Harden caught at slip and Piran Holloway leg before. Peter Bowler, at least, kept one end safe before Ian Austin weighed in.

He promptly trapped Bowler, 57 off 135 balls,and then surgically excised the tail. Somerset were batting again before tea, 268 behind.

Bowler was leg before for a second time inside 20 minutes; Lathwell was again claimed by Chapple, this time losing his off stump. Harden was caught trying to clear the ring but Holloway plonked Keedy's first ball into the Old Pavilion, signalling no surrender.

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