Somerset on top after another incredible day
19 wickets fell on another remarkable day as Somerset finished in a strong position against Warwickshire in this Specsavers County Championship clash at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Chasing 239 to win, the visitors were staring down the barrel on 103 for six at the close of day two.
Craig Overton had earlier finished with five for 31 when Warwickshire were bowled out in their first innings for 135.
His effort was then bettered by Liam Norwell, who claimed seven for 41 on debut, in a Somerset second innings of 164 all out, to which Overton contributed 36 not out.
Another action-packed day began with Warwickshire 110 for seven in their first innings. Jack Leach struck in the opening over, Tom Abell taking a fine catch above his head at cover to dismiss Jeetan Patel and Overton quickly followed up by trapping Banks lbw for 26.
Norwell and Oliver Hannon-Dalby added 25 for the last wicket, but when Norwell was bowled by Overton shouldering arms Somerset had a more than handy lead of 74.
They struggled to build on it as Norwell produced an impressive spell from the River End, sending back Azhar Ali and James Hildreth for ducks before gaining a leg before verdict against Marcus Trescothick, who was looking threatening on 23.
It was 46 for four when Abell nicked Norwell through to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, who then took a stunning catch off an inside edge to send back George Bartlett and give Henry Brookes a wicket.
The lunch score was 75 for five and the first ball after the interval saw Norwell bowl Lewis Gregory. Soon Somerset were in deeper trouble as Steve Davies edged to Ambrose off Norwell to make it 78 for seven.
Leading by 152, the home side needed runs from the tail. They came mainly from Overton.
Josh Davey chipped a catch off his legs to deep square off Hannon-Dalby with the total on 107. Tim Groenewald weighed in with a valuable 17 before falling to Brookes whilst Leach helped add 25 for the last wicket before becoming Norwell’s seventh victim, giving him match figures of nine for 92.
By tea Warwickshire had struggled to 26 for two. Will Rhodes fell in the first over, caught behind off Gregory for a duck and Rob Yates suffered the same fate, having made eight, off the last ball before the interval.
The final session saw Leach claim the important wicket of Dom Sibley, caught at slip for 26 whilst Adam Hose completed an unhappy return to his former club by falling lbw to Overton for four.
Liam Banks helped Hain add 29 for the fifth wicket before Abell introduced himself into the attack and gained an lbw verdict in his first over. At 84 for five, Warwickshire still required a further 155.
Tim Ambrose was run out by Bartlett’s brilliant direct hit as Hain played the ball to backward point and the pair went for a quick single. It was the last thing his side needed and at stumps they needed a further 136 to win.
At the close of another absorbing day Jack Leach said: “It’s all happened quite quickly in this game, and I think we would have taken where we’ve got to at the start of play today. We kept fighting and managed to put a score on the board that we feel we can defend, so to have them six down at the end of the day is a good place to be.
“We talk a lot about patience and about putting the ball in the right areas when it’s doing something for us, and we want to be relentless and ruthless with that. That’s the best way to take 20 wickets.
“The run out by George Bartlett was a big moment in the game and our fielding is something that we pride ourselves on. Our fielders in the offside are brilliant. It’s not just the run outs, Tom Abell is on the batters all day and that puts a lot of pressure on the opposition. As bowlers we are very thankful for that.
“Going in to tomorrow, I think we should be confident that we can take these last four wickets. It’s about keeping the scoreboard pressure on, and if we do that then the wickets will come.”
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