|LV= County Championship Division One, Taunton (day one):|
|Lancashire 364-8: Wells 103, Croft 71, Bailey 54*, Bohannon 50; Abell 3-63, Brooks 3-70|
|Somerset: Yet to bat|
|Lancashire (4 pts) lead Somerset (2pts) by 364 runs|
Luke Wells hit his maiden Lancashire century as the visitors got themselves into a strong position at Taunton.
Asked to bat first, they ended the day in command on 364-8.
Wells hit 103 off just 113 balls with 20 fours as he shared a third-wicket partnership of 155 with Josh Bohannon (50).
The hosts got back into it, but Steven Croft (71) and Tom Bailey (54 not out) combined for a stand of 95 before Croft was out just before the close.
With these two sides in fifth and sixth in the table at the start of play, victory looks essential to either win the County Championship or finish in the top two to claim a spot in the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord’s.
Somerset had picked Craig Overton and Jack Leach in their squad but pace bowler Overton missed out with a rib injury, while Leach was forced to sit out due to Covid protocols following the cancellation of England’s final Test with India, so there was a debut for 19-year-old bowler Ned Leonard.
On a green-looking pitch, it looked the right call to insert the opposition by captain Tom Abell and even more so when openers George Balderson and Alex Davies both fell with the score on 27, with Leonard claiming his maiden wicket.
But Wells and Bohannon put Somerset on the back foot as they rattled up a century partnership to reach lunch on 127-2, with Wells quick to pounce on any loose deliveries.
The former Sussex batsman cracked his 20th four to bring up the 19th first-class hundred of his career but he was out off his next ball as he edged Abell to James Hildreth at slip.
Bohannon, Lancashire’s leading run scorer this season, brought up his seventh 50-plus score in the Championship before he was caught at fly gully and with Rob Jones (5) also taken by Abell, the innings was wobbling at 201-5.
Red Rose skipper Dane Vilas hit a run-a-ball 36, before Croft and Bailey came together at 268-7.
They both reached their fifties and almost batted the whole final session before Croft was out in the penultimate over to Marchant de Lange.