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Somerset dominate on day three

Somerset are on course for a first Specsavers County Championship win of the season against Yorkshire at Scarborough following a dominant third day.

Lewis Gregory’s side claimed a first-innings lead of 55 during the opening hour of play before confidently accruing a total which will severely test Yorkshire on day four despite improving batting conditions.

Somerset closed on 234 for three from 68.3 overs, a lead of 289.

They upped the ante through third-wicket pair Tim Rouse and James Hildreth from midway through the afternoon onwards and have certainly not played like a team without a win in their previous seven matches this season.

The pair shared 144 inside 34 overs, with Rouse scoring 69 off 116 balls on his Championship debut and Hildreth 85 not out off 111.

Yorkshire’s problems have been increased by an injury to Liam Plunkett who joins Ryan Sidebottom on the treatment table. The England limited overs bowler left the field with a groin injury after gingerly completing his sixth over in Somerset’s second innings.

Yorkshire started the day on 159 for seven in their first innings and could only add 54 more runs.

Stand-in skipper Gregory claimed his first two wickets of the innings, bowling Plunkett for 19 and getting Adil Rashid caught at third-man uppercutting for an innings-high score of 49.

Craig Overton finished with five for 87 from 24 overs, while Tim Groenewald claimed his third wicket when, sandwiched in between the two Gregory strikes, he had Ben Coad (15) caught at first slip.

The early stages of the Somerset’s second innings proved to be a case of slow and steady. Marcus Trescothick and Eddie Byrom shared 53 inside 24 overs either side of lunch. Byrom was dropped on 24 by Tim Bresnan at slip off Plunkett in the 17th over, with 37 on the board, the Yorkshire skipper’s second missed opportunity in the game.

The hosts did make the breakthrough in the 24th – Plunkett had gone off by this stage – when Coad had Trescothick caught at second slip by Adam Lyth for 27. Part-time medium pacer Harry Brook picked up his maiden wicket in the 34th over when left-handed Byrom failed to keep out an in-swinging yorker as Somerset fell to 80 for two, leading by 135.

Rouse and Hildreth increased the run-rate in the second half of the afternoon and did not let Rashid, in particular, settle.

Three milestones then came in the space of a couple of overs in the early stages of the evening. Hildreth reached 50 off 82 balls and Rouse off 97 as the pair recorded their century stand.

Play was suspended for bad light at 5pm with Somerset 191 for two from 62 overs, leading by 246 with 25 overs remaining in the day.

Play resumed at 5.25pm with 18 overs left in the day, but only 6.3 more were bowled before more bad light ended the day at 5.50pm.

Coad did manage to force Rouse to chop on during the brief spell late in the day.

After the close Tim Rouse said: “I’m very pleased. I was more nervous in the first innings because it was my first Championship innings. The openers played the new ball brilliantly up top and set it up for me to go in and bat with Ed and try and get myself in. To play age-group cricket all the way through and then go to the Academy, it’s a dream come true to make my Championship debut.

James Hildreth said: “Rousey played brilliantly. We’ve known what he’s about having done well in second-team cricket this year. He made his debut in T20 last year and in first-class against Pakistan.

“It’s been frustrating for me because I’ve obviously had a lean patch, but I’ve felt good. I keep getting starts and getting out, which is almost more frustrating. I’m working in the nets thinking ‘I feel good’. It was nice to finally capitalise.

“The bowlers have been excellent all season, with Craig leading us in this game brilliantly. It’s us batsmen who haven’t put our hands up. As you’ve seen when the batters get runs, we get into dominant positions.”

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Next MatchLancashire V Somerset

11/07/2022 11:00 - Southport