Somerset v Lancashire: Craig Overton unlucky to miss century
|LV= County Championship Division One, Taunton|
|Close, day three: Lancashire 266 & 59-0 v Somerset 484|
|Somerset 6pts, Lancashire 4pts|
Craig Overton fell just one run short of a maiden first-class century as Somerset built a 216-run first-innings lead against Lancashire at Taunton.
The 20-year-old all-rounder, who passed his previous best of 86, shared 140 for the ninth wicket with Alfonso Thomas (54) to help the hosts to 484 all out.
Resuming on 193-2, Marcus Trescothick went on to make 128, while Simon Kerrigan took 4-168 for Lancashire.
The visitors survived 17 overs in the evening to close 59-0, 159 runs behind.
Opener Paul Horton faced 13 deliveries before retiring hurt, but Alex Davies made 38 not out and Usman Khawaja an unbeaten 14 to frustrate the Somerset attack, who are now faced with the task of taking all 10 wickets on the final day to force victory.
The home side started day three needing a further 74 runs to pass Lancashire's first-innings total, with eight wickets in hand.
However, the dismissal of Alviro Petersen for 73, caught behind by former Somerset wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off the bowling of Glen Chapple (2-59), sparked a collapse, and by the time Lewis Gregory was the eighth man to go, the hosts' lead was only 61.
But Overton, dropped by Horton on five, went on to compile his best-ever first-class score, hitting nine fours and two sixes on his way to 99, before edging a Kerrigan delivery to first slip to leave him agonisingly short of the first ton of his county career.
Thomas went on to complete his own half-century, but Somerset's inability to make serious inroads into the Lancashire order in the final hour of play will give the visitors confidence that they can hold out for a draw.
Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton:
"At the time I was desperately disappointed to get out so close to a hundred and I had to drag myself off the field.
"But now I am more positive about having helped the team into a position where we can look to win the game. It was the best I have batted in a Championship match."
BBC Somerset's Anthony Gibson:
"Joy and woe were woven fine at Taunton for Craig Overton, Somerset's richly talented 20-year-old all-rounder, as he made his highest first-class score, shared in a match-changing partnership of 140 with Alfonso Thomas - a ninth-wicket record for Somerset against Lancashire - but then missed out on his maiden century by the narrowest of margins.
"A first-innings lead of 218 gives Somerset a chance of forcing the win, but it will be hard work on a dry, dusty wicket, especially as Lancashire had reduced the deficit to 159 by the close, for the loss - temporary, one hopes - of only Paul Horton, forced to retire hurt after a nasty blow on the head from a Thomas bouncer."
BBC Radio Lancashire's Scott Read:
"A defiant late-afternoon partnership between Alex Davies and Usman Khawaja has given Lancashire a platform to go on and make the game safe tomorrow.
"A record ninth-wicket partnership between Overton and Thomas proved to be highly frustrating for the Red Rose, with the home side 290-7 at one stage.
"Paul Horton had to retire hurt after being struck on the head by a short ball from Thomas but Lancashire confirmed he should be OK to bat tomorrow."