All still to play for after day two

At the end of a fascinating second days play at the Cooper Associates County Ground Yorkshire lead Somerset by 105 runs with eight second innings wickets remaining in the Specsavers County Championship.

The Somerset late order batsmen, led by Craig Overton’s unbeaten 44 and Lewis Gregory who followed up his maiden Championship century with a fighting 43, helped their side to a first innings lead. Yorkshire’s veteran seamer Ryan Sidebottom took five for 56 which included his 750th First Class wicket.

Starting the morning on 41 for three, James Hildreth added seven to his overnight score when he left a ball from Steve Patterson that moved into him and was trapped lbw. New batsman Gregory was quickly into his stride and took three boundaries off Azeem Raffia’s first over.

At the other end Steve Davies, who began the day on six, survived an early chance when he was put down at second slip off Sidebottom after which he started to grow in confidence. The fifth wicket partnership added 65 runs when Davies who had moved onto 35 edged a delivery from off spinner Rafiq to wicket-keeper Andrew Hodd.

Adam Hose, on his debut, faced six balls before he was lbw to Yorkshire debutant Matthew Waite which brought Craig Overton to join Gregory. With the total on 114 for six a lot depended on the Devonian pair and they didn’t disappoint. Overton hit successive fours off Rafiq and they looked on course to remain together until lunch. However Yorkshire had other ideas and brought Sidebottom back into the attack and off the last ball of the penultimate over Gregory was lbw to the left arm seamer for 43.

New batsman Jamie Overton hit some lusty blows while his brother was more circumspect in the way he played. After moving onto 19 Jamie was lbw to Sidebottom.

Jack Leach and Craig Overton edged Somerset closer to their first batting point, but on 199 the left arm spinner was dismissed for 17. Dom Bess strode to the wicket and nudged his third ball from Waite through point to see up the 200. The last wicket pair took the total onto 224 when Bess was out for 20, caught at first slip off Karl Carver.

Batting for a second time Yorkshire openers Adam Lyth and Alex Lees added 35 when Lyth was lbw to off spinner Bess for 10. Peter Handscomb joined Lees and started to push the score along, but after adding 58 for the second wicket in 17.3 overs, Craig Overton returned at the Somerset Pavilion End sent Lees middle stump cartwheeling. Hanscomb continued to plunder his runs and went to a deserved half century with a classy off drive  from Leach, his runs coming off 79 balls with 10 fours.

With six overs remaining the players left for bad light after which play was abandoned for the day with Yorkshire 127 for two, a lead of 105.

Afterwards Craig Overton said: “This wasn’t quite the day we wanted as we hoped to bat for most of it. However it didn’t quite work out that way. They bowled well and kept it tight and we kept on getting out which was the frustrating bit for us. We were happy to get the lead and then it was crucial that we got those two poles when they batted again.

What was Craig thinking about as he walked out to bat this morning? “I tried to put the bowlers under pressure when I came into bat” he said. “I probably tried to play a few too many shots against Rafiq early on but I got away with it. Then they put the fielders out and I tried to milk it. I then tried to get as many runs as possible. Recently I’ve been getting bowled out so I have been working on a few things and it worked for me today.”

“If we can get a couple of wickets early on, keep the pressure up and bowl them out then we are right back in the game. The spinners are going to have to work hard for their wickets so we would be confident chasing 300.”

The match scorecard can be viewed by clicking here

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground