A painstaking 66 from Somerset opener Dean Elgar gave his side a slight advantage against battling Lancashire at the end of a dramatic opening day of this Specsavers County Championship Division One clash.
The South African battled his way past 151 balls, a number of which were hurled down by an impressive looking James Anderson and an even better Ryan McLaren who finished the day with figures of 4-46 as Somerset reached 153-8 at the close giving them a first innings lead of 44 runs.
It could and should have been far better for Tom Abell’s men after they removed both Alex Davies and Haseeb Hameed for 0 to leave the Red Rose wilting at 1-2 as James Davey accounted for both openers.
With twin brother Jamie ruled out with a hamstring injury, Craig Overton then removed Luke Procter, Rob Jones and Dean Vilas in quick succession to leave Lancashire 39-5 and then 42-6 after Tim Groenewald got McLaren.
Stand-in skipper Liam Livingstone remained not out at lunch, facing 70 balls for his 28 alongside Jordan Clark who hit a single from his 28 balls, but if shots were thin on the ground before the interval, the afternoon exploded into life as Livingstone began to let rip.
With Overton accounting for both Clark and Parry, the 23-year-old began to chance his arm with a succession of ramp shots and a huge straight six which cannoned off the pavilion balcony and helped Lancashire move to 109 all out by the time Livingstone holed out to Jack Leach to give Gronewald his third wicket.
With James Anderson taking the new ball for the Red Rose all was not lost but despite some typically accurate swing bowling from England’s record wicket taker it was McLaren who made the breakthrough with a beauty that Marcus Trescothick couldn’t avoid edging to Davies for 20.
The former England opener proved to be the first of four wickets for McLaren who bowled superbly throughout the afternoon as he dismissed captain Tom Abell (1), Peter Trego (19) and Overton (8) as Lancashire battled manfully to restrict the visitor’s lead.
Aside from Anderson who took the wicket of Steven Davies, it was Procter who proved to be the other bowling hero of the day with the all-rounder on a hat-trick after removing Lewis Gregory and Josh Davey in successive balls on a day when putting the ball in the right place was rewarded handsomely.