Liam Livingstone gave the England selectors another nudge on a dramatic opening day of Lancashire's Specsavers County Championship match with Somerset.
Eighteen wickets fell at Emirates Old Trafford , with the visitors having the slight upper hand.
After being put in following an uncontested toss, Lancashire - without the injured Shivnarine Chanderpaul - were dismantled by Craig Overton who took 5-47 as the Red Rose were dismissed for 109 in just 41.4 overs.
But they fought back well in the evening session, with Ryan McLaren taking 4-46 on his Emirates Old Trafford debut for the county and Luke Procter 3-36 to leave Somerset 153-8, just 44 ahead.
But through the carnage of tumbling wickets, Livingstone shone through as his 68 provided the backbone to Lancashire's innings, which had started with both openers Haseeb Hameed and Alex Davies falling for ducks in the first four overs.
As more and more wickets fell, the 23-year-old went on the attack, playing a string of shots more suited to the T20 Blast, at one point forcing Somerset to spread their fielders and employ Marcus Trescothick as a backstop to thwart his ramp shot. © Provided by Trinity Mirror PlcCredits: Simon Pendrigh
And he brought up his 50 in stunning style with a straight six off Overton which landed in the first tier of the pavilion. "I just shut my eyes, swung, and connected," joked Livingstone afterwards. © Provided by Trinity Mirror PlcCredits: Simon Pendrigh
After an impressive winter with the Lions, and with some tipping him for a call-up when England's one-day squad for the matches against Ireland are announced next week, Livingtone's innings is bound to have given watching England selector James Whitaker a few things to ponder.
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"Today is the challenge of first-class cricket," said Livingstone, who again captained the side in the absence of the injured Steven Croft. "It isn't easy every week. And to be able to score a few runs when the team are in trouble makes you sleep better at night-time. © Provided by Trinity Mirror PlcCredits: Simon Pendrigh
"It was nice to get some runs in a difficult situation, although it would have been nice to do it in a higher score.
"We thought it was going to be a good pitch but you couldn't quite see the moisture underneath it until you marked your guard. © Provided by Trinity Mirror PlcCredits: Simon Pendrigh
"It wasn't easy, We could have played a bit better, and it has been a tough day for us, but we have dragged it back well in the last session."
Jimmy Anderson, back in the side after being rested by England, and Kyle Jarvis were unlucky not to break through the Somerset top order early, regularly beating the bat. But McLaren was impressive throughout and got his rewards, although Dean Elgar frustrated the Red Rose and resumes this morning on 66no.
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"We don't want their lead to get much bigger, but when we were 42-6 we would have taken the position we are in now," added Livingstone. "We have to keep it tight in the morning and then graft, put a price on every wicket and bat as big as we can.
"We need to try and get off to stronger starts and get ourselves in positions where we can dominate games."
At Emirates Old Trafford
LANCASHIRE First innings
A L Davies c Trescothick b Davey 0
Hameed c S M Davies b Davey 0
L A Procter c S M Davies b Overton 24
L S Livingstone c Leach b Groenewald 68
R P Jones lbw b Overton 0
D J Vilas lbw b Overton 4
R McLaren c Elgar b Groenewald 2
J Clark c Abell b Overton 9
S D Parry c & b Overton 0
K M Jarvis c Trescothick b Groenewald 1
J M Anderson not out 0
Extras (lb1) 1
Total (41.4 overs) 109
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-1, 3-35, 4-35, 5-39, 6-42, 7-75, 8-83, 9-84.
Bowling: Gregory 8-5-20-0; Davey 12-2-33-2; Overton 13-5-47-5; Groenewald 8.4-6-8-3. © Provided by Trinity Mirror PlcCredits: Simon Pendrigh
SOMERSET First innings
M E Trescothick c Davies b McLaren 20
D Elgar not out 66
T B Abell lbw b McLaren 1
J C Hildreth b Procter 12
S M Davies c Davies b Anderson 1
P D Trego lbw b McLaren 19
L Gregory lbw b Procter 9
J H Davey c McLaren b Procter 0
C Overton lbw b McLaren 8
M J Leach not out 1
Extras (lb12, nb4) 16
Total (8 wkts, 52 overs) 153
Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-44, 3-63, 4-67, 5-119, 6-134, 7-134, 8-145.
To Bat: T D Groenewald.
Bowling: Anderson 16-5-20-1; Jarvis 12-4-29-0; Clark 2-0-10-0; McLaren 14-4-46-4; Procter 8-0-36-3.