Career-best for George on day one

George Bartlett made a career-best 137 as Somerset fought back impressively in this Specsavers County Championship match against Surrey at Guildford.

Bartlett survived an early scare and made Surrey pay as Somerset, who will return to the top of the First Division if they win, reached 337. Surrey openers Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman negotiated two overs before stumps and will resume on 0 for 0.

It was Bartlett’s second hundred of the season after he scored 133 against Nottinghamshire and it was made in front of ECB’s Technical Director Andy Flower, the former England Coach.

Somerset had struggled against the new ball and would have been 35 for 4 had Rikki Clarke clung onto the chance to remove Bartlett straight away.

Instead, the Somerset man shared stands of 95 with Tom Banton and Steve Davies and 73 with Craig Overton before Morne Morkell, armed with the new ball, had him caught behind in the 84th over.

It was an outstanding effort by the 23-year-old as Somerset once again showed the battling qualities which have already earned them three Championship wins this season.

Banton, who had come into the side after Azhar Ali pulled out with a throat infection, gave Bartlett excellent support and hit Ryan Patel for three successive boundaries as the fourth-wicket partnership took shape.

However, after lunch Banton went 24 balls without scoring and then edged Matt Dunn to gully for 44. Bartlett found another reliable partner in ex-Surrey man Steven Davies who contributed 41 before Dunn, the pick of the Surrey attack, went around the wicket to hit off-stump with a ball which held its line.

Bartlett reached his third First Class century in the last over before tea by glancing Clarke off his hip for his 13th boundary. He also lofted Gareth Batty over long on for six and played fluently again after tea, straight-driving Morne Morkel to the boundary to bring up his career-best. The South African, though, had his revenge in the next over when Bartlett feathered an edge as he pushed forward. He faced 213 balls and hit 19 fours.

Surrey wrapped up the rest of the innings quickly. Clarke returned to pick up Craig Overton, who played on for 40, and his brother Jamie (20) in successive overs while Morkel had Tim Groenewald (1) and Jack Brooks (13) caught behind as the last four wickets fell for 24 in 5.3 overs. Morkel finished with four for 64.

After winning the toss Somerset had started solidly enough but with the score on 21 skipper Tom Abell (5) edged Morkel low to second slip where Dean Elgar took a good catch. Marcus Trescothick had struck a couple of boundaries with the confidence of old but on 18 he was caught behind trying to guide Clarke down to third man. Somerset lost their third wicket when Dunn trapped James Hildreth (6) in front but the major part of the day was dominated by Bartlett.

At the close of play George said: “I had a let-off early on and I was pleased to make the most of it. At that stage we just had to get through the new ball, which we did and then built some good partnerships. You can score runs quickly at Guildford because the outfield is very fast and the pitch did get better to bat on so I was delighted to cash in.

“It’s my second hundred of the season and I also got runs in the first game against Kent as well. I like to think I have taken my game to a new level this season.

“We thought 350-400 was about par on that wicket and it will be interesting to see how it plays tomorrow. We will look to contain them, build pressure and hopefully take advantage.”

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23/08/2022 11:00 - Edgbaston