Another incredible day at Taunton

There was another sensational day of cricket at the Cooper Associates County Ground today and the Specsavers County Championship match between Somerset and Essex is still very much in the balance.

A 50 run last wicket stand between Jack Leach and Craig Overton plus Neil Wagner returning figures of 6 for 48 in Somerset’s second innings were the highlights of day two.

Resuming on their overnight total of 60 for 2, Essex, who bowled out Somerset for 209 on day one, collapsed to 121 for 8 at lunch with only Alastair Cook (52) providing any real resistance.

Craig Overton got the board moving, in Somerset’s favour, when he trapped Daniel Lawrence lbw for 0, and though Cook reached 50 off 85 balls, he and Ravi Bopara departed within the space of half a dozen deliveries to leave Essex on 81 for 5.

Ryan ten Doeschate (4) chipped Lewis Gregory to James Hildreth at mid wicket and Roelof van der Merwe found a way through Adam Wheater’s defence at 91 for 7.  Then, with lunch approaching, van der Merwe struck once again, to send back Simon Harmer (9) at 119 for 8.

Having wrapped up the Essex first innings shortly after lunch, thanks to wickets from Jamie Overton and Jack Leach, Somerset boasted an 80 run first innings lead.  Van der Merwe was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 26 from eight overs.

Marcus Trescothick was trapped leg before by Jamie Porter for five, at 11 for 1, and captain Tom Abell edged the same bowler to Wheater.

A 44 run partnership between Dean Elgar and James Hildreth bolstered Somerset’s lead in mid afternoon, and threatened to take the game way from Essex.  However, Wagner had different ideas.  Elgar was trapped lbw by Simon Harmer for 27 and Hildreth was eventually caught in the gully by Harmer off the bowling of Bopara.  Steve Davies was fifth man out, at 100 for 5, when he offered a catch to Jamie Porter off Wagner and after tea Peter Trego, van der Merwe, Gregory and Jamie Overton all departed.

Wagner took five wickets for 17 runs in 34 balls before Somerset’s final pair of Leach and Craig Overton joined forces to build what could possibly be a match defining partnership.

In the end, it was Wagner who took the final wicket, of Overton, but not before the pair had put on a valuable 50 runs to leave Somerset 254 runs ahead.

Faced with scoring the game’s highest score to win, Essex were 10 for 0 at the close.

After the close Somerset Batting Coach Chris Rogers said: “I think a lot of the batsman will feel they have left a lot of runs out there. Maybe we haven’t been tested enough in the pre-season.  However, I do think this wicket is playing tricks.  It’s two paced and has become a bit of a lottery.  But still, we could have tried to have seen Wagner off and we will need to address that.  However, we will learn from this and we will get better as we go on.  I think the last pair valued their wicket and that was good for us.  They showed exactly what they can do out there.

” I thought our bowling was brilliant today.  Everyone chipped in and played their part really well.”

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