Jack impresses on day one

Jack Leach v Lancashire

Jack Leach bowled impressively for Somerset as Alviro Petersen marked his return to Taunton with 83 on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match as Lancashire ran up 295 for four.

The former Somerset batsman faced 140 balls, hitting 8 fours and 2 sixes after his side had won the toss and elected to bat.

Steven Croft contributed 71 not out, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 125 with Petersen, after left-arm spinner Leach claimed two early wickets.

A short boundary on the town side of the Cooper Associates County Ground made life more difficult for the Somerset bowlers, who maintained a tight line and length for most of a tough day.

There was little movement for the Somerset seamers and it was Leach, introduced from the River End as early as the 17th over, who broke Lancashire’s first-wicket stand with the total on 56.  Having progressed to 29, Haseeb Hameed drove at a full ball and was well caught at extra cover by Tom Abell diving to his left.

Jack Leach bowling 2016

At lunch, Lancashire were 77 for one. Leach had figures of one for six from eight accurate overs, while Brown was unbeaten on 43.

With ten runs added in the afternoon session, Leach claimed his second victim when beating Brown’s forward defensive push and winning an lbw verdict.  Then Luke Procter fell for 26, leg-before playing a across a good-length ball from Tim Groenewald.

From 125 for three, Petersen and Croft accelerated, the former reaching his half-century off 95 balls, with 5 fours and a six.  Croft’s first two scoring shots were sweetly-struck boundaries and by tea the pair had taken the score to 177 for three.

In the final session, Croft went on the attack, lifting two big sixes off Leach, the first bringing up the 200. Petersen joined in by uppercutting Jamie Overton through backward point and clearing the ropes.

Craig Overton Appeal Main

It was Craig Overton who ended Petersen’s innings with the second new ball, the batsman aiming an aggressive shot across the line and falling lbw.

Alex Davies (32 not out) then helped Croft see off the second new ball and after a short break for bad light a full day’s play was completed with their partnership worth 45.

Croft had faced 133 balls and hit 6 fours and 2 sixes.

Leach was the pick of the Somerset bowlers as he finished the day with figures of two for 67 from 25 overs.  At the end of the day he said: “The wicket wasn’t offering a lot and it was pretty hard graft out there today, but we stuck at it  well.

“Its a bit strange because it’s so cold, but the wicket is dry and it’s the kind of wicket where everybody needs to be offering everything they can. Its a case of being dry, dotting up and creating pressure.

“I was pleased with the way that I bowled having just come back from an injury and that was the most overs that I have bowled for a long time. To get through that with my body feeling okay is very pleasing so I am pretty happy.  We were always looking to keep it tight and if we weren’t going to get wickets we wanted to keep the run rate down which on these sorts of wickets is the sort of thing that will create chances.

“I love bowling out there on my home ground and it was great to be out there bowling in front of what was a good crowd given how cold it was today.  To bowl that number of overs today was good, although I’d probably rather not bowl them and have them bowled out for 100, but I’m always pleased to be bowling.”

Looking ahead to the morning Jack said: “We have got to come back again pretty focused and try to pick up some wickets through the same method of keeping it tight and then taking our chances when they come.  Then when we bat, bat long and big.”