Somerset v Lancashire: Red Rose need miracle win to keep title hopes alive

Jack Leach
Somerset spinner Jack Leach (right) added four more wickets to his first-innings haul of 5-47
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton (day three):
Somerset 335: Davies 111; Parkinson 4-68
Lancashire 133 & 247-8 (f/o): Hameed 62, Livingstone 57; Leach 4-79
Lancashire lead by 45 runs with two wickets remaining
Somerset 6 pts, Lancashire 3 pts

Lancashire retain a miniscule hope of winning the County Championship after batting through a rain-affected third day against Somerset at Taunton.

The visitors closed on 247-8, 45 runs ahead, but Essex's victory over Warwickshire means Lancashire must win or the title will go to Chelmsford.

Haseeb Hameed made a gritty 62, while Liam Livingstone battled for his 57.

Spinner Jack Leach (4-79) starred again for Somerset, who began the game second from bottom of Division One.

Should Lancashire force a miraculous win on Friday, leaders Essex would need only nine points from their two remaining matches to be crowned champions.

More likely is a Somerset success, which could be enough to lift them out of the relegation zone with two matches remaining.

Lancashire, who were asked to follow-on late on day two after conceding a first-innings deficit of 202, began promisingly to reach 82-0 after rain had delayed the start of play.

Leach had Alex Davies caught and bowled for 49 shortly after the players returned from another rain break and the left-arm spinner took the key wicket of Hameed after lunch, the England Test opener lofting a drive to cover fielder Tom Abell to end his 188-ball stay at the crease.

Livingstone's efforts ensured Somerset will need to bat again, although he became Leach's eight scalp of the match when he edged behind to Steven Davies.

Leach struck another huge blow 30 minutes before the close when he dismissed Ryan McLaren, Lancashire's final recognised batsman, caught at short leg with the visitors' lead only 32.

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