Dom and Jack put Somerset in a strong position on day two

Dom Bess and Jack Leach bowled First Division leaders Somerset into a strong position on the second day of this Specsavers County Championship match with Nottinghamshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The two England bowlers shared eight wickets as the visitors collapsed from 201 for two to 241 for nine in the final session. Chris Nash was unable to continue his innings of 50, having retired hurt after being struck on the head by a bouncer.

Bess finished with five for 59 and Leach three for 79, their combined efforts giving Somerset a first innings lead of 85. Jake Libby top-scored for Notts with 77, while Ben Duckett contributed an aggressive 38.

By the close, the hosts had made seven for one in their second innings and extended their advantage to 92. Nightwatchman Tim Groenewald was the man to go when he was caught behind off Ashwin in the first of five overs.

For much of the day Notts were on top. They lost only one wicket in the morning session, Ben Slater (15) was caught at cover attempting to loft an off side shot over the short boundary on the town side of the Ground.

Jamie Overton was the successful bowler with the total on 35. However, there was little assistance from the pitch for any of the Somerset seamers as Libby and Nash solidly took the score to 91 for one from 30 overs.

Libby progressed to a battling 99-ball half-century and Nash followed to the same landmark, having faced 90 deliveries and hit seven boundaries.

It was 121 for one when Nash had to go off with the pair looking well set, Overton’s extra pace catching him out as he looked to avoid a short ball.

Undeterred, Notts increased their scoring rate, Duckett hitting sixes off Leach and Bess as he and Libby took the score to 169. At that point neither spinner was getting more than the odd ball to turn significantly.

That changed after Duckett was caught behind off Bess, looking to play off the back foot to a ball that was too full for the shot. Libby and Steven Mullaney survived until tea, which was taken at 189 for two, but suddenly there were signs of threatening turn.

That continued after the interval. When Libby was caught at slip driving at Leach it proved a key moment as Notts lost six more wickets for the addition of only 40 runs.

Bess, bowling from the Somerset Pavilion End, took two of them, Mullaney top-edging an attempted pull to be caught at mid-wicket and Ashwin bowled trying to reverse sweep.

Tom Moores and debutant Liam Patterson-White fell to bat and pad catches at short leg off Leach.

Luke Wood carved a catch to backward point off Bess, who ended the innings by having Luke Fletcher taken at backward short leg. It was the 21-year-old’s first five-wicket haul of the season.

At the close of play Jack Leach said: “This was definitely a great comeback and a great second half to the day. It was hard  work out there but we stuck at it pretty well and we got our rewards at the end. Now we’re 92 ahead, which is a nice place to be.

“It’s been spinning out of the footholds  and you have to be right on your length and line to get anything from it. I would say that it’s starting to do a little bit more now. It felt hard at the start of the day and then offered more towards the end.

“Bessy bowled really well and got five wickets. We had a good partnership going and kept it tight and squeezed them and then took our rewards. Tomorrow will be a test for us, but it’s one that we are looking forward to.”

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11/07/2022 11:00 - Southport