Keshav Maharaj marked a sensational debut for Lancashire by taking seven wickets to bowl Somerset out for 77 in their second innings.
In a low-scoring affair at Taunton, Maharaj marked his County Championship debut for Lancashire with an 11-wicket haul, including capturing the last Somerset wicket to secure a stunning tie. Lancashire scored 99 in their first innings and 170 in the second dig to set Somerset a simple target of 78 for victory after they had scored 192 in their first innings.
With the scores tied and Somerset 77-8, Maharaj had Dominic Bess stumped by South African-born Dane Villas for 19. Graham Onions then bowled a maiden over to Craig Overton, after which Maharaj bowled three dot balls to Jack Leach (who had himself taken 12 wickets in the match), and then had him caught in the deep by Tom Bailey for a four-ball duck to secure a heart-stopping tie.
It was only Bailey’s ninth catch in 44 first-class matches, but it was one he (and his teammates) will never forget.
— Lancashire Cricket (@lancscricket) September 5, 2018
As he had done for the Proteas in Sri Lanka, Maharaj took the new ball in Somerset’s second innings and went on to bowl unchanged to finish with figures of 13.4-4-37-7 (econ 2.70). Villas added two more stumpings off Maharaj in the second innings to the one he made in the first innings, to ensure that the spinner took his match tally to 11 wickets, his fourth 10-wicket haul and 22nd five-for.
The result was Lancashire’s first tie since 1952, and Somerset’s first since 1939. It was also the first tie in the County Championship since 2003 and only the ninth time in the history of first-class cricket that a team had been bowled out after being set 78 or less to win.
At Worcester, Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott and Dale Steyn made short work of the Worcestershire batting lineup as they chased a victory target of 248. Abbott took 5-35 (first innings 2-29) while Steyn followed up his first innings 3-25 with figures of 2-33 in a welcomed return from injury.
Worcestershire still need 128 runs to win with just two wickets (and two days) remaining.
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