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Renshaw and Abell blunt Essex on Day Three

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Matt Renshaw mimicked Nick Browne’s run accumulation as Somerset and Essex headed towards an inevitable LV= Insurance County Championship draw.

Australian Renshaw was unflappable to gather 146, his highest score in the Championship, having spent six hours and 34 minutes at the crease.

He put on an unbroken 193 runs with Tom Abell for the second wicket before the Somerset captain was forced to retire hurt on 90 after appearing to damage his hamstring.

Somerset ended the day on 359 for three in reply to Essex’s equally massive 505, still 146 behind heading into a final day unlikely to inspire a result.

Renshaw and Abell had begun their partnership the previous innings with a free-flowing and breezy half-century together. The same adjectives could not be used again on day three, where turgidity and gritty were better suited.

The morning session in particular was a practice in patience and copied the rhythm of much of the earlier portion of the match. Only 87 runs were scored, as Renshaw and then Abell moved past 50 – in 139 and 105 balls respectively.

Both appeared completely untroubled, with only balls offering width or shortness sniffed at on a slow, used pitch.

On his 100th first-class appearance, Adam Rossington was absent having taken a blow to his finger when dropping Renshaw in the first over of the innings. Will Buttleman stood in, tidily, behind the stumps throughout the day.

Abell joined him in withdrawing from the action after a quickly run two saw him pull up and limp off back to the tent-come-dressing room. The injury will be of notable worry for Somerset, having sat out two months of last year with a hamstring problem.

Meanwhile, Renshaw remained unflinching to bring up his 15th first-class century, and fifth for Somerset over two spells at the county.

Much of what was written and said about Browne’s 234 not out the previous two days could be also aimed at Renshaw. Both showed off deep levels of concentration and stubbornness to take the opportunity of scoring a high score for their team.

He was dropped in consecutive overs by Alastair Cook at first slip when on 106 and 108 but they were the only false moments.

George Bartlett had arrived to replace Abell and pinged a straight six to take the second wicket stand to a record against Hampshire, before he was adjudged to have gloved to short leg – giving Simon Harmer his second wicket in the 48 overs sent down in the innings.

Renshaw gloved a pull off Aaron Beard behind to end with 146 before Lewis Goldsworthy and James Rew took the game slowly past the 356 follow-on target and to the end of the day. The duo adding an unbroken 35. The day seeing just two wickets and only 360 runs.

Essex captain Tom Westley:

“I think our bowlers have been outstanding all year with their tireless work ethic, which has been absolutely sublime. But it wasn’t just a tough day for Essex but a tough viewing day for the crowd as well on a very docile placid wicket.

“We asked for that [the spinning and bouncy Hampshire pitch here last month], that has been the blueprint which has brought success for us over a number of years. I think it is clear to see that it is not doing that at all. When you have what I believe is the best spinner in the world bowling nearly 50 overs and only getting two wickets and not creating the chances he usually does, it is bitterly disappointing.

“We were just joking up there that maybe if we set them 180 in 70 overs they might go for it. But it is so hard to get wickets on that. When you look at our innings we lost not many wickets on the first day and only lost wickets because we were pushing on so I think that says it all. It is not what we asked for but it is looking like a boring draw unfortunately.”

 

Somerset head coach Jason Kerr:

“I think it was an incredibly exciting day, we were under an incredible amount of pressure. Whenever a team scores 500 plus the scoreboard naturally creates some pressure and they have one of the best bowlers in the world in their side. Despite the wicket being slow,we knew it was going to be a challenge.

“Renshaw was outstanding. People talk about pressure in sport and on the back of being behind 500 runs we needed a good start and partnerships. The way Matt played Harmer in particular was outstanding.

“Renshaw and Abell’s partnership saw the runs flowing and had the scoreboard ticking nicely, which wasn’t easy with the pace of the pitch. That led to some exciting and competitive cricket…but I guess for the neutral it was quite attritional.

“Tom’s hamstring is pretty sore. We are looking to get a scan as quickly as possible, probably Friday back in Taunton. The first 24 hours will give us some information but hopefully it is not too serious and is just a tweak. He is in the form of his life coming off the back of a century last week and looking like getting another one so hopefully he is not out for too long.

“Things can change quickly and we will have a conversation but the reality of the situation is where the scoreboard is now. Right now both teams have four points each and that is a reflection of the cricket that has been played so far.”

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