Honours even after day two
It’s very much a case of honours even after day two of this LV= Insurance County Championship match between Somerset and Gloucestershire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
By the close of play the visitors trailed their hosts by 11 runs with two first innings wickets remaining after James Bracey’s sixth First Class century led Gloucestershire to 301 for eight. The 23-year-old contributed 118, whilst Chris Dent made 50 and Matt Taylor amassed a career-best 53 not out.
Craig Overton (three for 60) was the pick of the Somerset bowling attack.
Gloucestershire began the day on 13 without loss, and Dent and Kraigg Brathwaite took the score to 41 before the West Indies captain was pinned lbw for 18 by a ball from Overton that nipped back off the seam. However, Dent struck three successive boundaries, moving to his third half-century in as many innings, off 70 balls.
Without addition to the score though, the Gloucestershire captain aimed to work Marchant de Lange towards the short leg-side boundary and edged catch to wicketkeeper Steve Davies. That was the South African’s first wicket for Somerset.
De Lange continued to produce some pacey short balls, but Bracey and Tom Lace took Gloucestershire to 97 for two at lunch.
The afternoon saw Somerset’s seamers, aided by some tight spin bowling from Jack Leach, exert greater control. Seeking to break loose, Lace reached to drive a wide ball from Overton and lifted a catch to Tom Banton at cover.
Bracey pulled a six over fine leg off, but with the score on 119, Graeme van Buuren edged de Lange to second slip where Gregory held a good diving catch.
Bracey went to his half-century off 115 balls whilst Ryan Higgins contributed 23 to a stand of 41 before edging Josh Davey to first slip.
George Hankins fell lbw on the back foot to de Lange, but Bracey remained unbeaten on 79 at tea, taken with Gloucestershire 189 for six.
George Scott went on the attack at the start of the final session, launching a big straight six off Leach. However, after helping Bracey add 26, Scott edged Gregory to second slip where Overton pouched a diving catch.
Bracey reached his hundred by glancing Davey to the fine leg boundary. He had faced 208 deliveries and hit 14 fours and a six.
Somerset took the second new ball at 217 for seven, but were frustrated as Taylor weighed in with a maiden First Class half-century, made off 92 balls.
Bracey’s vigil finally ended when he edged Gregory to second slip.
At the end of the day, Craig Overton said: “I think the game is evenly poised. It was hard work out there today on a pitch which is getting better to bat on all the time.
“James Bracey and Matt Taylor played really well, as they are entitled to, and we couldn’t quite drive home the advantage after taking the first seven wickets.
“Jack Leach showed what a quality bowler he is by keeping things really tight on a surface that wasn’t helping him. Hopefully, it will do some more in the second innings and he will get his rewards then.”
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