Six for Jack on day one

Jack Leach delivered a strong reminder of his undoubted talent as 12 wickets fell to spin on the first day of this Specsavers County Championship game between Somerset and Hampshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The 25-year-old left-arm spinner took six for 78 as Hampshire were bowled out for 162 inside 50 overs.

By the close, Somerset, for whom Dean Elgar scored 60, trailed by five runs with as many first innings wickets in hand.

A morning that began brightly for Hampshire finished with Somerset firmly on top. Having won the toss the visitors looked in precious little trouble in reaching 34 for 0 in the 14th over. However, by the time the two sides sat down for a lunch Hampshire had already lost more than half of their first innings wickets.

Openers Michael Carberry and Liam Dawson got the board moving inside the first hour before Dawson (13) carelessly pulled a short ball from Leach to Dom Bess at square leg. Carberry (17) followed at 34 for two and five overs later Leach struck again. This time it was James Vince who perished to the slow left armer for 11.

Rilee Rossouw (0) and Sean Ervine (8) departed shortly after, to Leach and Bess respectively, and before lunch arrived Lewis McManus had been caught by James Hildreth at short leg off the bowling of Bess for a first ball duck. Although the wicket was taking considerable turn, it had been a less than impressive display of batting.

Having reduced Hampshire to 100 for six at lunch, Somerset finally bowled out the visitors for 162 off 49.1 overs.

Leach, who had Gareth Berg stumped by Steven Davies for 10 at 100 for seven, sent back George Bailey (49) with a delightful delivery that pitched on leg stump and struck off. Craig Overton denied the spin twins all 10 first innings wickets when he picked up the scalp of Mason Crane (1) at 154 for nine. However, it was business as usual for Leach in the 50th over when he trapped Kyle Abbott (49) lbw.

By the close Somerset had moved to within five runs of Hampshire’s modest total.

Marcus Trescothick departed for six at 15 for one before captain Tom Abell and Elgar added 75 for the second wicket. However, when Abell departed for 40 at 90 for two, Hampshire clawed their way back into the game with three further wickets falling before the close.

Elgar, who became the first batsman of the day to reach 50 off 74 balls with six fours and a six, made 60 but fell to Dawson who finished the day with three for 44 off 15 overs.

James Hildreth was adjudged lbw to Abbott for seven at 119 for three and after Elgar’s dismissal at 121 for four, Peter Trego was fifth man out at 141 in the 37th over. Steve Davies and Lewis Gregory then saw Somerset through to the close without any further setbacks.

After the close of play Jack said: “There’s still a lot of cricket to be played in this game but I think that today was just about our day. We’re not resting on our laurels though. There’s a lot of hard work to do with the bat for us in this first innings and also when we bowl again.

“It was a helpful wicket and any time you are claiming three in the first session then there is going to be some spin there. Throughout the day Dom Bess and Liam Dawson showed how to bowl on it as well. There is turn there, but it’s important not to presume what is going to happen as it goes on.

“This wicket is a bit different to the first two because it’s a fresh one with a bit more grass on it and it’s spun today. However, with the older ball it tends to slow down and still spin but not as aggressively and quickly as earlier on.”

Talking about the Somerset batting he said: “The boys fought well today and Dean batted well and so did Tom so it’s important that the lower order take notice of the way they performed and take confidence from some of the innings’ last year, where the tail wagged.”

Regarding  his six wickets Jack said: “I’ve been feeling good for the whole season but getting wickets is great. To me, I’m bowling everyday and I know how I’m feeling. I’ve done well on the wickets I’ve played on so it’s just a case of taking every game one at a time and seeing what wicket you are playing on.

“I feel I’m doing a job for the team, but it’s pleasing to get those wickets. Early on in my spell I felt I needed to be the wicket taker and I was thankful I could do that. However, it could just have easily been Dom Bess so hopefully in second innings we can do the job again.

“The weather has been so good today and it looked like a great crowd and we are very thankful for everyone coming to support us. It means so much to us.”

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11/07/2022 11:00 - Southport