Tom and James outstanding on day one
Tom Abell and James Rew led an outstanding fightback for Somerset on the opening day of this LV= Insurance County Championship Division One match against Lancashire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
The home side were in trouble at 80 for four but Abell and Rew set a new fifth wicket record partnership against the Red Rose County to take a stranglehold on the game. The stand eclipsed the previous best of 145, which also involved Rew and was set last Summer in Southport.
James Anderson was the most successful Lancashire bowler with two for 56 from 19 overs, but it proved a frustrating day for the visitors after a promising start.
At the toss the visitors elected to field first, and it looked like a good decision.
There were just five runs on the board when Anderson trapped Sean Dickson lbw, and when Tom Lammonby (15) edged the England seamer to Keaton Jennings at second slip the hosts were 24 for two. That soon became 24 for three in the 10th over when Cameron Bancroft feathered Tom Bailey to George Bell behind the stumps.
Somerset needed a strong hand to steady the ship, and in skipper Abell and Tom Kohler-Cadmore they found it. The pair brought up the 50 partnership for the fourth wicket from 73 balls.
Unfortunately, Kohler-Cadmore fell for the addition of just six further runs when he was caught on the fine leg boundary by Bailey off the bowling of Colin de Grandhomme for 38 at 80 for four. If Abell and Kohler-Cadmore steadied the ship, then the Club Captain and James Rew navigated the storm and tamed the seas. Initially, the pair made their way through a tricky pre-lunch spell to take Somerset to the interval at 91 for four. From then on it was a batting master class.
If Lancashire had the better of the opening session, then the home side dominated the afternoon and evening sessions, adding more than 200 runs without loss.
Anderson’s four overs at the start of the afternoon session went for 26 runs, Abell producing one of the shots of the day with a sweetly-timed on drive for four off the England bowler.
Rew, who impressed greatly on his debut season for Somerset last year, punished anything overpitched on his legs or delivered short outside off stump. Abell was typically unflustered in reaching a 109-ball half-century, with seven fours, before Lancashire turned to the left-arm spin of Tom Hartley at 165 for four. The century partnership was brought up off 34 overs and Rew moved to his fifty with a boundary to long-on, having faced 119 deliveries and hit 10 fours.
By tea, the scoreboard read 199 for four, with Abell on 74, having swept a six off Hartley, and Rew on 57.
Abell went to his hundred with two boundaries in an over from de Grandhomme. He had faced 203 balls and hit 13 fours and a six, rarely looking in the slightest discomfort. The same over saw Somerset claim a first batting point.
Lancashire took the second new ball at 251 for four, but it made no impact. An exquisite cover-drive off Saqib Mahmood for his 14th boundary took Rew to three figures off 223 balls and he quickly celebrated with a pulled six off Balderson. It was his first Championship hundred at Taunton.
At the close of play, James Rew said: “I’m very happy to have made my first hundred at Taunton. It’s something that is so special to do in front of your home crowd. It was great to bat with Tom. He kept me calm from the other end and helped to drive me on all the way.
“It was challenging facing James Anderson, but as the ball got a bit older it didn’t move around so much. He’s so skillful and you have to work really hard every ball against him.
“It was a case of playing every ball as it came and not trying to get ahead of myself. It was important to keep building the partnership with Tom.”