Loye and Laxman earn draw

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VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman hit his third century of the season and ended on 113 not out

Centuries from Mal Loye and VVS Laxman helped Lancashire earn a crucial draw from their LV= County Championship Division One match against Somerset at Taunton.

When the two came together on yesterday evening with the total on 67 for two, Lancashire looked in danger of being beaten but they batted all day, at the end of which they had helped their county take another step towards top-flight survival.

The visitors started the day on 87 for two, with Loye on 23 and Laxman 16, still 126 runs short of making the hosts bat again. India batsman Laxman brought up the 100 with a boundary to deep backward square off the fifth over of the morning.

However at the other end Loye was batting more aggressively and went to his half-century with an edged boundary off left-arm spinner Arul Suppiah that went between first and second slip.

Three overs later Laxman, on 40, was fortunate to survive a chance to the wicketkeeper off Charl Willoughby, but shortly afterwards he took a single to fine-leg off Peter Trego to bring up the Lancashire 150.

Laxman went to his own half-century, which came off 118 balls and included five fours, with a single off Suppiah to midwicket and by lunch the total had moved onto 192, with Loye on 82 and Laxman on 60, still 21 runs behind their hosts’ first-innings total.

Shortly after the break Laxman straight-drove Ben Phillips to the boundary to bring up the 200.

Somerset’s acting captain Marcus Trescothick took the new ball after 80 overs with the total on 220, but off the third ball of the over Loye square-drove Willoughby to the boundary to bring up his third century of the season, which came off 205 balls and included 11 fours.

Loye was in full flow and took the total past 250 when he clipped paceman David Stiff off his legs to the boundary. By the time tea was taken Lancashire had moved on to 271, 58 ahead of their hosts and the game was all but safe.

In the fourth over after the tea interval Laxman played a glorious back-foot cover drive off Stiff to bring up his 100, the third of the season, which he scored off 240 balls and which included 12 fours.

Loye went to his 150, which came off 307 balls and included 19 fours, with a single off Willoughby, who had changed to bowling left-arm spin from the Old Pavilion End.

By the time Lancashire declared on 314 for two, the third-wicket partnership was worth 247 which had come off 86 overs, with Loye ending unbeaten on 151 and Laxman 113 not out.

Somerset take 12 points from this game compared to Lancashire’s eight.

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