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Essex in the box seat on day one

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Despite a spirited performance by Tom Lammonby, it was the visitors who had the upper hand on the opening day of this LV= Insurance County Championship match between Somerset and Essex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Somerset were looking to bounce back from a frustrating first outing in the competition at Hampshire last week, but it wasn’t to be.

Despite losing the toss and being asked to bat first, there was optimism around those gathered at Taunton this morning as Somerset were able to welcome Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Lewis Gregory and Matt Renshaw back into the starting XI.

Unfortunately for the hosts, only three batters made it to double figures in a total of 109 all out. By contrast at the end of play Essex had matched the Somerset score for the loss of just two wickets.

The match also saw Sir Alistair Cook reach yet another milestone when he passed 25,000 First Class runs.

Earlier in the day Sam Cook, Mark Steketee and Simon Harmer had all claimed three wickets whilst Lammonby offered the only genuine resistance with a patient 48.

Ben Green, on 15, was the fist man to fall when he aimed a drive at Aussie seamer Steketee, who claimed his first Essex wicket through wicketkeeper Adam Wheater’s catch.

Renshaw received an excellent reception as he made his way to the middle, but any hopes of a repeat of his performances the last time he donned a Somerset shirt faded when he was bowled for seven by Sam Cook.

James Hildreth was caught behind off Stetekee pushing forward before two wickets fell with the score on 49. Tom Abell edged the first ball of Cook’s second spell onto his pad, looping a catch to Dan Lawrence running in from fourth slip, and Lewis Goldsworthy edged to Alastair Cook at first slip in the same over.

Lunch was taken with Somerset on 70 for five. Without a run added at the start of the afternoon session, Steve Davies, on three, edged a wide ball from Shane Snater through to Wheater.

Harmer’s introduction to the bowling attack saw the off-spinner claim three of the last four wickets cheaply, all to Alastair Cook slip catches. Lewis Gregory edged a defensive shot, while Lammonby, who had shown commendable application, and Peter Siddle fell to a reverse sweep and orthodox sweep respectively. Craig Overton was bowled by Steketee as Somerset were all out for 109 in 45.4 overs.

By tea, Essex openers Nick Browne and Sir Alastair Cook, both fresh from centuries in the opening game with Kent, had taken the score to 40. After the break, the pair advanced the total to 68 before Browne, on 25, edged a drive off Overton and was caught at the second attempt by Abell at third slip.

Cook passed the 25,000 run landmark with a cut boundary off Green, which took him to 35. Tom Westley was caught behind down the leg side off Overton for 13, as Essex finished the day on 109 for two.

At the close of play, Somerset Batting & Assistant Coach, Lachlan Stevens said: “It was a difficult day for us today. I thought that Essex bowled some really good stuff, but unfortunately we didn’t get it right. The boys are frustrated and disappointed and know that scoring under 200 in a first innings of a Championship match isn’t good enough to get you into a position to win the game. They know that and they’re working really hard but we didn’t execute well enough on the day. I think it was difficult batting this morning if the ball was in the right areas, and Essex did that well today.

“I thought Peter Siddle, Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory bowled some really good stuff without a lot of reward and I still think there’s a little bit out there.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Derbyshire Falcons

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