Century for Matt on day one
Matt Renshaw gave Somerset Members and supporters a timely reminder of why they took him to their hearts during his previous stint with the Club with an outstanding batting performance on day one of this LV= Insurance County Championship match against Warwickshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Somerset’s batting has come in for criticism this season following three defeats in a row in the competition, but those critics were silenced for the time being today, with Renshaw in particular showing his class. The 26-year-old featured in six County Championship matches for the County back in 2018, scoring over 500 runs at an average of 51.30, and those present at Taunton were treated to more of the same today.
The Australian Test player’s superb 129, featuring 19 fours and two sixes, paved the way for an imposing score of 351 for four. It was his fourth hundred in six home Championship appearances for Somerset.
There were also half centuries for Tom Lammonby (56), who shared an opening stand of 137 with Renshaw, and Tom Abell (70) as Somerset looked to get their season back on track. Tom Banton also ended the day on 47 not out. Oliver Hannon-Dalby was the pick of the Warwickshire attack, taking three for 62.
On an overcast morning, Warwickshire won the toss and elected to bowl. That was about as good as it got for the defending champions as the home batters looked to give credence to the old saying that form is temporary but class is permanent.
Renshaw and Lammonby played positively from the start, only Hannon-Dalby showing the necessary accuracy to contain them.
The two left-handers brought up the half-century stand in the 15th over and began to accelerate. Renshaw looked an even more complete player than in his first successful spell with Somerset and moved to fifty off 80 balls, with eight fours and a pulled six off Miles.
He took the score past 100 with a sweet cover-drive of Danny Briggs. The slow left-armer was introduced from the River End to try and stem the flow of runs, but by lunch Somerset were 130 without loss.
Lammonby had gone to his half-century off 76 balls, with a crisp on-driven four off Aussie seamer Nathan McAndrew, who was proving expensive on his Warwickshire debut. However, Hannon-Dalby made the breakthrough in the fifth over after lunch as Lammonby edged a defensive shot to Sam Hain at second slip.
Abell and Renshaw confidently built on what had gone before, the latter reaching a chanceless hundred off 158 balls.
The shot that brought up Renshaw’s ton was among his best, a flowing back-foot stroke through the off-side for a boundary off McAndrew.
Another six followed when Renshaw effortlessly lifted Briggs straight back over his head and half way up the Lord Botham Stand. Abell looked equally comfortable, with the ball rarely beating the bat.
The pair brought up the second century stand of the innings before tea, which was taken at 249 for two when Renshaw edged a seaming Hannon-Dalby delivery through to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess.
Abell had moved to a composed 92-ball fifty, and the final session saw him joined by Tom Banton, who helped take the total to 277 before Abell was caught behind down the leg side pushing forward to Rob Yates.
It was 282 for three when the second new ball was taken. Banton greeted it with a glorious straight-driven four off Hannon-Dalby and looked in good touch, moving to 47 not out by the close.
James Hildreth was caught at point for 23, cutting a wide ball from Hannon-Dalby, but Somerset, without Peter Siddle because of a stomach strain, could still reflect on four hugely welcome batting points.
At the close of play, Matt Renshaw said: “That was a big day for us and we’re in a good position. It started nibbling and swinging around a bit, and hopefully we can learn some lessons from watching them bowl and put in a good performance when it’s our turn.
“I just tried to enjoy myself out there and I love playing in front of the crowd here. I love opening the batting with Lammers because he’s got all the strokes that he needs.
“I think I’m a better player now than I was when I was here before. I feel like I’m better at adjusting to game scenarios and reading the situation.
“We’ve played really good cricket in the last two games and I feel like we’re playing a good brand of cricket at the moment. You go through tough patches, that’s the way cricket happens sometimes. Cricket can change so quickly. If you put in a few good performances and win a few games, you can be right back up there challenging at the top of the table. Hopefully, we can keep this up, win this game and then take it from there.”
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