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George stars on record breaking night for Max

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A sensational innings from George Bartlett helped Somerset to a 66-run victory with 15 balls to spare over the Sri Lanka Development XI at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

It was also a night that saw history made as Max Waller became Somerset’s all time leading wicket taker in T20 cricket.

Bartlett’s eye-catching knock of 82 from just 38 balls will quite rightly be the main topic of conversation amongst those who were here to witness it, but the Somerset bowlers also played their part in an impressive display.

The tourists won the toss and elected to field.

At the end of the six-over powerplay Somerset openers James Rew and Tom Banton had taken their side to 46 without loss. The pair had shared an opening stand of 70, when Banton pulled Manelker De Silva to deep extra cover and departed for 34 from 29 balls.

This brought Bartlett to the crease, and he and Rew began to accelerate the run rate. Rew was eventually bowled by Ashian Daniel for 47, his innings coming from just 35 balls. That left the home side on 92 for two.

The 100 arrived on the board for Somerset in the 13th over, but Goldsworthy top edged Dunith Wellalage and the bowler took the return catch at 123 for three. The 150 then arrived in the 17th over.

A diving Dhananjaya Lakshan at extra cover removed Ben Green for nine at 150 for four, but Bartlett brought up his 50 in fine style with a reverse scoop for six. His half century coming from just 26 balls.

Somerset eventually finished on 194 for four, with Bartlett unbeaten on 82. His innings included two fours and nine sixes.

Lasith Croospulle tried to come out of the block firing, but he was caught by Marchant de Lange when attempting to drive Ben Green straight back down the ground with just seven runs on the board.

Somerset turned to spin early, and Lewis Goldsworthy accounted for Nishan Madushka at 31 for two in the fourth over. The score had moved to 45 when Nipun Nanajaya was caught behind off Ben Green for 14, and at the end of the powerplay the tourists were 59 for three.

Ben Green took an outstanding diving catch to his right off his own bowling to remove Dhananjaya Lakshan at 61 for four and then it was Wallers turn to take the spotlight.

The veteran spinner had Nuwanidu Fernando caught by Marchant de Lange, and in doing so claimed his 138th T20 wicket to become Somerset’s all-time leading wicket taker in the format, overtaking Alfonso Thomas.

Goldsworthy then claimed two quick wickets before Waller took his tally to 139, and when Jack Brooks bowled Amshi De Silva, the tourists were all out for 128.

At the close of play, George Bartlett said: “We had a good start at Kent in the week and we’ve got a hectic schedule coming up, so hopefully this will help us to keep up the momentum. Everyone did their job really well today and we couldn’t have asked for much more. The bowlers stuck to their task with the ball, we fielded well and it was an all round good night.

“I felt really good out there tonight. Once I’d got a few boundaries away I had that bit of freedom. I tried to target the short side when I could and build partnerships. I love batting at Taunton. Hopefully, I can get a chance over the next few weeks. If I do get the chance, I’ll be looking to make the most of it.

“I’m really pleased for Max. I think that’s really special for him and it’s been a pleasure to play with him. He’s been a consistent performer and I’m really happy for him.

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