Kasey stars in final day stalemate
A career best knock of 58 from Kasey Aldridge ensured the inevitable draw on the final day of this LV= Insurance County Championship match between Somerset and Lancashire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
The 22-year-old made 58 not out and shared a seventh wicket stand of 87 with Lewis Gregory (34 not out) as Somerset claimed 10 points and the visitors returned north with 12.
Resuming on 41 without loss in their second innings, the hosts slipped to 169 for six, a lead of only 56. However, Aldridge, making his first appearance of the season, displayed a calm temperament as well as no small amount of flair as he and Gregory saw the game out as the players shook hands at shortly before 5pm.
Somerset began the day needing 72 more runs to make Lancashire bat again but Tom Lammonby, Sean Dickson and Cameron Bancroft fell for the addition of of just 12 runs. Lammonby, on 23, edged Bailey to second slip where Colin de Grandhomme took an excellent diving catch. Dickson fell lbw to James Anderson, having added four to his overnight score of 15, and Bancroft was caught behind pushing forward to Bailey for four to make it 53 for three.
Tom Abell and Tom Kohler-Cadmore took the score to 90, but the latter departed for 16 to another de Grandhomme catch at second slip off George Balderson.
First innings centurions Abell and James Rew again proved more resolute, but needed the help of some poor Lancashire fielding to put together a stand of 66. Rew survived a straightforward slip chance to de Grandhomme on nine off Saqib Mahmood before a shower brought an early lunch at 12.50pm with Somerset 121 for four, a lead of eight runs.
The start of the afternoon session brought an even more fortunate escape for Rew, on 28, when Anderson inexplicably spilled a top-edged sweep at backward square leg off Tom Hartley.
Rew then went on the attack, hitting a six and two fours off a Hartley over to help take the total to 157 for four. At that point, Abell was bowled by a full delivery from Bailey, having looked in little trouble facing 92 balls.
Rew’s luck ran out when he attempted to drive left-arm spinner Hartley through the covers and edged to Luke Wells at slip. It had been another important contribution from the 19-year-old wicketkeeper following his career best 117 in the first innings.
Aldridge made his way to the crease with plenty of time left for Lancashire to force a victory. Mahmood was soon testing him with a series of short-pitched balls, but the tall youngster was more than up to the task. He and Gregory took the total to 197 for six at tea, a lead of 84, with the second new ball just eight overs away. It was taken at 227 for six, Aldridge having brought up a half-century stand with Gregory by sweeping successive fours off Hartley.
With a possible 27 overs left in the day and Somerset 114 in front, Lancashire needed to strike quickly. However, even Anderson’s skills and know-how proved ineffective on the surface as Aldridge stroked him for two back-foot fours through the covers, the first taking him past his previous best First Class score of 41, made against Yorkshire at Taunton last season.
At the end of the match, Kasey said: “I’m really pleased. I have been working very hard on my batting during the winter.
“Although I have been seen mainly as a bowler over the last few years, I am very keen to become regarded as a genuine all-rounder. I’ve been batting well in the nets, but it doesn’t matter there. To put runs on the board out in the middle is very important to me.
“I love batting and bowling with Lewis Gregory because he is always there for me. We chat about cricket a lot. He was giving me advice between overs.
“Today I just tried to give myself time because there was plenty of it and there was no rush. But it was still important to get runs if we were to come out with a draw.”