Somerset v Lancashire: In-form Croft earns draw for visitors
|LV= County Championship Division One, Taunton|
|Lancashire 266 & 251-5 drew with Somerset 484|
|Somerset 11pts, Lancashire 9pts|
Steven Croft and Usman Khawaja made half centuries as Lancashire saw off the possibility of defeat on the final day against Somerset at Taunton.
The Red Rose county began on 59-0, still needing to score another 159 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
They were in trouble when they slumped from 137-1 to 159-5 after Khawaja's dismissal by George Dockrell for 60.
Croft continued his fine form with 59 not out and he and Paul Horton (41 no) took them to 251-5 to secure a draw.
Somerset had to settle for 11 points, leaving them fourth in the table, 23 behind leaders Notts but with a game in hand.
Lancashire, meanwhile, climbed one place to seventh, only four points behind Durham in fifth, but only seven ahead of Sussex, who are now eighth.
The home side were looking for early wickets after leading by 218 on first innings and got one when Alex Davies edged a ball from Alfonso Thomas (41) to the wicketkeeper.
Khawaja and Ashwell Prince added 72 before both fell to slow left-armer Dockrell, the latter smartly stumped for 22 by Craig Kieswetter.
Thomas dismissed Jos Buttler and Tom Smith (3-35) cheaply, but Croft, with two Championship hundreds behind him in recent weeks, saw off the crisis by batting for three hours and hitting nine fours.
And Horton, who retired hurt on the third evening after being hit by a Thomas bouncer, showed no sign of any after-effects to keep him company for the final 38 overs before the two sides shook hands.
Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick:
"We are disappointed because we felt the chance was there to win the game. As it turned out the pitch was too slow for the seamers to make much of a contribution and we had to rely heavily on George Dockrell.
"It hasn't worked out for us, but I felt we played consistently well with bat and ball throughout the match."
Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple:
"Paul (Horton) was pretty groggy last night and perhaps a bit worse than we expected him to be this morning. That's why the decision was taken to bat him at seven.
"We could have done with more first innings runs, but we are playing good cricket and have some teams above us in the table in our sights."
BBC Radio Bristol's Anthony Gibson:
"When Lancashire lost their fifth wicket at 159, with at least 50 overs remaining, Somerset were in with a real chance of forcing a win.
"But calm defiance from Steven Croft and a recovered Paul Horton saw the visitors to safety, home skipper Marcus Trescothick calling it a day with Lancashire on 251-5.
"It was a good performance by Somerset, with Trescothick's century and Craig Overton's 99 the highlights, on a dry, slow, dusty pitch which gradually sucked the life out of the game."