Langer surpasses Bradman's record
Justin Langer claimed one of Sir Donald Bradman’s most prized records as Somerset attempted to turn the screw on LV= County Championship strugglers Worcestershire on another showery day at New Road.
Langer’s 86th first-class century made him the highest-scoring Australian batsman, surpassing Bradman’s career total of 28,067 runs, and even when the 38-year-old left hander departed for 107, there was no relief for Worcestershire.
Somerset declared at 428 for six following Craig Kieswetter’s run-a-ball 59 not out, and after a two-hour stoppage, Worcestershire limped to 164 for six – still 115 short of their 279 target to avoid the follow-on.
With Somerset’s seamers getting more out of the pitch, Stephen Moore was leg-before, stretching forward in Charl Willoughby’s third over, and Vikram Solanki turned a catch to leg slip off David Stiff before the total had reached 50.
Daryl Mitchell showed some resilience, facing 70 balls for 20, but was then bowled by Andrew Caddick and Willoughby returned to have Moeen Ali held at first slip by Langer.
The wickets continued to be shared out as Ben Smith (30) cut Peter Trego low to point and Gareth Batty edged behind off Alfonso Thomas, but the 45-over session ended with top scorer Steven Davies undefeated on 40.
Worcestershire’s troubles were in stark contrast to Somerset’s batting. When Langer resumed on 89, he took 20 minutes to add the six runs he needed to pass Bradman.
Fellow Australian Matt Mason was the bowler when a well-timed drive past mid-off for four took the left hander to his target.
In his 615th first-class innings – 277 more than Bradman – he hit fours and two sixes from 133 balls, and, when he was caught at cover off Mason, he had taken his overall total to 28,080.
Wicketkeeper Kieswetter, maintaining his best season with the bat, thumped four sixes against a flagging attack. The first of these lodged the ball in a plastic fascia board above the press box and the third secured a fifth batting point as the Westcountry side went past 400 as early the 81st over.
James Hildreth went for 16 - bowled by Gareth Andrew after lifting the previous delivery for six – but Zander de Bruyn needed 24 balls to make nine before he holed out to long leg off Mitchell.
The persevering Mason was easily the pick of the attack, taking three for 111 from 28 overs, and medium-pacer Mitchell nipped in with 2-25 when called up by skipper Solanki as a fifth seamer.
Solanki was unable to retain any control in the field as Trescothick, with a century on the second day, and Langer led Somerset’s bid to force a victory and cut Durham’s 36-point advantage at the top of the Division One table.