Somerset have drawn their County Championship Division One clash with Lancashire at Taunton, thanks mainly to an unbroken century partnership from Marcus Trescothick and Chris Rogers.
The experienced pair, who have over 48,000 first-class runs between them, will be crucial to Somerset's hopes this season and stood up on a final day which could have been tricky considering the position they were in at the start of play.
Having enforced the follow on in the dying embers of play on day three, Lancashire were in charge of proceedings and went in search of quick wickets. Somerset, trailed by 180 on first innings, and their mind-set going into the final 96 overs of the match, will have been all about avoiding defeat.
Fortunatley for the home side, Trescothick and Rogers will never get bored of spending time at the crease and churning out runs, which is exactly what they did to salvage the draw.
Groenewald and Abell fall in first session as Lancs push for victory
Night-watchman Tim Groenewald who went from batting at number 11 in the first innings, to opening in the second, was at the crease alongside Trescothick as play began from Taunton. The new-ball pair of Kyle Jarvis and James Anderson knew wickets were the order of the day, with the pair using a short-pitch ploy against Groenewald with the new ball.
It took until just the sixth over of the morning before the first wicket fell. It was that of night-watchman Groenewald who had made five runs from 24 balls before having his off-stump knocked over by Jarvis.
That wicket bought young Tom Abell to the crease. The 22-year-old Taunton-born batsman had his breakthrough season in 2015, but has found it much tougher this time around, currently averaging 13.6 from his five Championship knocks.
He made just ten in this innings before being caught-and-bowled by former England spinner, Simon Kerrigan, sharing in a partnership of 48 alongside Trescothick who was starting to bat more fluently following a few early miscues.
After 15 deliveries stuck on 49, Trescothick finally went through to his 119th first-class 50, which included seven boundaries. Chris Rogers joined Trescothick out in the middle, in a partnership which would most likely dictate the direction of the match.
With the leader of England’s seam attack, and former-Kiwi international Neil Wagner steaming in from either end, it was a high-class battle between bat-and-ball even if the pitch was on the flatter side. The Somerset pair saw off a tricky period just prior to lunch, which came with the score at 97-2, meaning the home side still needed 83 to make their opponents bat again.
Trescothick reaches 60th century, while sharing in game-saving partnership with captain Rogers
As the sun continued to beam down on the County Ground, 62 overs were still officially left in the days play following the lunch interval as Trescothick and Rogers strode back out to the crease.
The clear, blue sky made for perfect batting conditions, allowing the two elder-statesman to manoeuvre Somerset towards a draw which would bag them five points, plus the four bonus points they accumulated during the first innings.
Two edges through the vacant second-slip position and surviving a Jarvis direct-hit aside, Trescothick’s progress from 63 at the beginning of the session, through to his century with consummate ease. Sweeping the spinners and late-cutting or driving the seamers, the Keynsham man’s 60th first-class century came at a time when Somerset needed it most.
Totalling 196 deliveries and 12 boundaries, Trescothick’s second century in Division One this year was bought up in the final over before tea when the batsman, who share 78 years in age, sprinted a quick three after a cover drive from the leg-spin bowling of Liam Livingstone.
Rogers, who reached his second fifty of the match from 147 balls, was the man who hit the runs to bring up the 100 stand, as a sudden influx of milestones were registered just before tea. With 81 runs in the session, and more importantly no wickets, Somerset now trailed by just two runs as the thought of a positive result slipped away from the visitors.
Early handshakes confirm draw after unbeaten 168 run partnership
After overtaking Lancashire's score, Somerset were well on their way to their third draw of the campaign.
Trescothick and Rogers proved to be immovable objects at the crease, sharing in an unbeaten 168-run partnership which lasted 65 overs. When handshakes were had at 4.50pm, Trescothick's 254-ball vigil saw him remain unbeaten on 129, with the Australian, Rogers 75 not out from 199 balls.
The Lancashire players and management will be proud of the way they have established themselves in Division One so far this year following promotion last term.
The maiden first-class century by Livingstone on day two and Anderson's burst of wickets on Tuesday had given the Red Rose an opporunity to force the result, before they ran into Somerset's spectacled batsmen. Somerset take away nine points from the draw, with the visitors grabbing 11 to continue their strong showing in 2016.