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Bowlers put Somerset on top on Day Two

Jamie Overton led the way with three wickets as Somerset established a first innings lead of 133 on the second day of this Specsavers County Championship match with Essex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The 24-year-old claimed three for 40 from 8.4 overs to help bowl out the visitors for 191 in reply to 324.

There were two wickets each for Josh Davey and Jack Leach, with only Essex skipper Ryan ten Doeschate (73) showing much resistance.

By the close, Somerset had extended their advantage to 165 by posting 32 for one in their second innings and looked well set to press for a fifth Championship win of the season.

The day began with the hosts on 308 for seven in their first innings and soon featured a milestone for Australian seamer Peter Siddle. After dismissing Lewis Gregory (47), Siddle claimed his 500th First Class wicket when bowling Jack Leach and finished with five for 80.

Jamie Porter had last man Davey caught at slip as Somerset added 16 to their overnight score. However, that was as good as it got for Essex, who soon plunged into trouble.

An opening stand of 25 ended when Nick Browne edged a catch behind off Davey. Soon it was 29 for three as Gregory pinned Varun Chopra lbw and Tom Westley shouldered arms to a Davey inswinger, which uprooted his off stump.

Ravi Bopara and Dan Lawrence took the total to 51 for three at lunch, but soon after the interval Bopara, on 15, was well caught by diving wicketkeeper Steve Davies to give Overton his first wicket.

A half-century stand between Lawrence and ten Doeschate ended with the total on 106 as Lawrence (28) fell lbw pushing forward to Leach, who was getting some turn and bounce from the River End. Adam Wheater perished for ten, edging Leach to Gregory at slip and when Simon Harmer was caught and bowled off a leading edge by Dom Bess, Essex were 137 for seven, still 38 runs short of avoiding the follow-on.

Whether Somerset would have enforced it or not was rendered academic by ten Doeschate, who was unbeaten on 49 at tea, with the score 145 for seven. The Essex skipper moved to his half-century in the final session off 108 balls while Peter Siddle (12) helped add 37 for the eighth wicket before falling to a brilliant slip catch by Gregory off the leg spin of Azhar Ali.

Overton, whose last two seasons have ended prematurely due to injury, worked up good pace from the Somerset Pavilion End and finally got through ten Doeschate’s defences to trap him in front.

The tall paceman then accounted for Porter, caught behind for two, and Somerset’s bowlers could reflect on job well done.

Marcus Trescothick fell lbw to Sam Cook with 13 runs on the board in the hosts’ second innings, but it was still very much their day.

At the close of play Jamie Overton said: “I’m definitely pleased at the end of the day, although I didn’t feel all that great with the way things went in the first hour. I couldn’t get into my rhythm and I felt a little bit off.

“However, during the break I spoke to Jason Kerr and some of the other coaches and realised what I was doing and tried to put it right in my second spell. After that it came out really nicely for me.

“I’ve had a good few weeks in the Vitality Blast and now I just have to try to keep it going. I feel like I’m getting into the rhythm a bit more and taking wickets, which is the main thing for me. It’s been a tough couple of years for me with injuries but that’s the way cricket is and it’s part and parcel of being a fast bowler. I’ve just got to keep coming back stronger.

“Our spinners all bowled well and there is a bit of spin out there if you put it in the right areas. Harmer got some to spin when he bowled at Dom Bess, so we’ll be hoping that carries on into the final innings.

“We’re in a good position, but the pitch can flatten out and not spin as much, so we need to get as many runs as possible in our second innings and put as much pressure on them as we can.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Derbyshire Falcons

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