Croft finds Prince royal company
Steven Croft and Ashwell Prince’s mammoth fourth-wicket stand put Lancashire in control of their LV= County Championship match against Somerset at Taunton.
Croft became the Red Rose’s first centurion of the season, hitting 113 not out, while Prince fell four runs short of three figures as the duo put on 208.
By the close, the visitors had posted 363 for four after winning the toss, Karl Brown contributing 50 and Stephen Moore 47.
Croft and Prince took advantage of some mediocre bowling, which erred on the short side as both made liberal use of the cut and pull shots.
Batting on the ground where he hit the winning runs to steer Lancashire to a County Championship title last season, Croft struck 10 fours and two sixes during his 153-ball stay.
He and Prince, who hit 12 fours and one maximum, took the game away from Somerset after Peter Trego struck with the first ball of the afternoon session to leave Lancashire 118 for three.
The day had begun badly for the visitors when Paul Horton was lbw to the fifth ball, bowled by Vernon Philander.
But a Somerset attack lacking Steve Kirby, Adam Dibble, Gemaal Hussain and Alfonso Thomas was soon exposed as Moore and Brown produced a stand of 95 for the second wicket in quick time.
The latter reached his half-century from 82 balls, with eight fours, only to then fall lbw off Lewis Gregory.
It was 118 for two at lunch, and Trego struck immediately upon the resumption, earning another leg-before verdict against Moore, who played defensively down the wrong line.
Prince enjoyed an early reprieve; he was dropped at slip by James Hildreth, who has been handed the Somerset captaincy in place of the injured Marcus Trescothick, when on just seven.
Yet, from then on, it was all too easy for the South Africa international and Croft against a seam attack including rookies Gregory, Craig Meschede and debutant Craig Overton - preferred to twin brother Jamie, who was 12th man.
Overton at least had the satisfaction of claiming a maiden first-class wicket when Prince, much to his own disgust, pulled a short ball straight to Nick Compton at midwicket.
But there was no removing Croft, who, by the time bad light ended play at 5:30pm, had put on 37 with Gareth Cross, unbeaten on 20.