Dean impresses again on day one

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Dean Elgar was Somerset’s stand out performer on day one of this Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at Lord’s.

The South African made 77 not out as the visitors reached 161 for five at the close.

A burst of heavy rain in late afternoon, followed by bad light, meant only the first half of the opening day was possible, but there was still time for Elgar to rally Somerset from a perilous 80 for five in the company of his sixth wicket partner, Lewis Gregory, who remains unbeaten on 27. Together, they have so far added 81 in 20 overs.

South Africa Test batsman Elgar now has 390 Championship runs at an average of 55.71. In the recent Royal London One-Day Cup group stage he scored 428 runs in just five innings at an average of 107 and, overall, he has now topped fifty in nine of his 14 innings to date in both competitions.

The left-handed opener, indeed, has been an early-summer shining light and his 146-ball effort was vital as wickets tumbled with regularity at the other end after Somerset had opted to bat first in warm but muggy conditions.

The ball swung for Middlesex’s four-pronged pace attack, with Tim Murtagh and James Franklin finding marked movement in the air, and there was also some bounce available for the taller and quicker bowlers Tom Helm and Toby Roland-Jones.

When Murtagh had Peter Trego caught behind for two from the fifth ball after lunch it looked as if Somerset would be regretting their decision to bat first. Four wickets had fallen in the morning session, with new ball strikes by Roland-Jones and Murtagh initially leaving Somerset reeling at 20 for two.

Elgar and James Hildreth added 46 before Hildreth fell for 25 to a slip catch by Ollie Rayner. Helm, switched to the Pavilion End for his second spell, then had Steven Davies caught for six edging a sharply rising ball and Somerset lunched at 78 for four.

Marcus Trescothick was the first Somerset batsman to depart, caught at third slip for eight off Roland-Jones and then Murtagh produced a perfect away-swinger from the Nursery End to have Tom Abell taken at the wicket for six.

After the close of play Dean said: “It’s nice to make an impact on the game and it’s going well for me over here at the moment. I hope my form continues for the rest of the summer and into the Test series against England.

“The partnership with Lewis has hopefully given us some momentum going into tomorrow and things would have looked very bleak for us if things had gone the other way during our stand. The first session in particular was quite challenging but that’s what you expect in English conditions and it certainly wasn’t unbattable out there – just hard work at times.

“I’m really enjoying playing in county cricket and it’s always great to play at Lord’s. There’s a different sort of feeling when you play here, and you see it even with the older guys in the team who have played on this ground a lot.”


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