County Championship: Lancashire beat Somerset by 10 wickets at Taunton

Lancashire claimed their fifth Championship win of the season - and their first since the split
Lancashire claimed their fifth County Championship win of the season - and their first since the divisional split
LV= County Championship Division One, Taunton (day three):
Lancashire 373: Wells 103, Croft 71, Bailey 63; Brooks 4-77 & 32-0: Davies 22*
Somerset 90: Azhar Ali 39; Blatherwick 4-28 & 314: Lammonby 100, Azhar Ali 50; Wells 3-8
Lancashire (23 pts) beat Somerset (3 pts) by 10 wickets

Lancashire wrapped up their expected County Championship victory over Somerset by 10 wickets at Taunton to move into serious title contention.

Resuming on 226-4, still needing another 57 to make Lancashire bat again, Somerset at least avoided a third successive innings defeat.

But it was still another demoralising heavy loss to take into T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston this Saturday.

After bowling out Somerset for 314, Lancashire took six overs to make 32-0.

On the ground where Lancashire last won the County Championship in 2011, it was a first win for the Red Rose since their innings victory over Yorkshire in Manchester in May - and their first in any competition since beating Hampshire in the One-Day Cup on 1 August.

Their final Championship home game is also against fellow title chasers Hampshire at Aigburth, starting next Tuesday.

Lancashire's 23 points from the game officially ends any slender hopes Somerset had of sneaking into the top two and takes the Red Rose to the head of the Division One table for a few hours at least.

They will be overtaken by either Hampshire or Nottinghamshire, who are meeting at Southampton, or whichever of Yorkshire or Warwickshire win in Leeds. But both games have endured at least some delay by the weather on day three.

The Lancashire wickets were shared around, with two apiece for Tom Bailey, who quickly removed main danger man James Hildreth for 26, George Balderson and Jack Blatherwick, who got the final scalp, Ned Leonard caught behind by Alex Davies, leaving Steven Davies stranded on 22.

Alex Davies then returned to form with four fours in an unbeaten 22 off 20 balls, while Balderson finished 10 not out as lunch was put back to allow Lancashire to ease home.

Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry:

"We haven't been able to score enough first innings runs in recent games to put the opposition under pressure.

"Our team performances haven't been to the same level as they were before the break in the Championship. Lancashire's bowlers put the ball in challenging areas more often than ours were able to do and tested our batsman more.

"What encourages me is that I see players working really hard on a daily basis and if they continue to show that attitude form will return ahead of our final game."

Lancashire skipper Dane Vilas:

"This was a must-win game for both teams if either of us were to keep our title hopes alive and I am delighted with the way we played and the result.

"It sets up an exciting final game against Hampshire next week. We can go into it with momentum from this performance.

"Other than losing the toss, everything went well for us, particularly after a difficult time against Notts last week. We needed to turn our form around after that and did just that, which is fantastic."

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