Marcus shows his class again on day one

Marcus Trescothick fell five short of a 67th First Class century as Somerset posted 308 for seven on the opening day of this Specsavers County Championship match with Essex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The former England opener hit 16 fours in his 158-ball innings before pulling a short delivery from Peter Siddle straight to Nick Browne at deep-square and departing crestfallen for 95.

Somerset skipper Tom Abell also contributed 70 whilst Steve Davies hit 45 and Lewis Gregory made 42 not out.

There were three wickets for Peter Siddle and two for Jamie Porter as the Essex bowlers stuck to their task.

Somerset began well after Abell had won the toss, Eddie Byrom (16) helping Trescothick put on 38 for the first wicket before edging a catch to wicketkeeper Adam Wheater off Siddle in the 12th over.

Trescothick’s first four scoring shots were boundaries, but he also had to be watchful, particularly after Simon Harmer was introduced into the Essex attack with the total on 45 for one.

The off-spinner was soon making life difficult on the dry surface and had Azhar Ali caught at short mid-wicket for 17 with the total on 63.

Trescothick used all his experience to play Harmer well and went to his half-century off 83 balls, with 10 fours.

It looked like being Somerset’s morning, but on the stroke of lunch Porter pinned James Hildreth lbw for nine to make the score 104 for three at the interval.

Trescothick and Abell then produced an assured stand of 76 at the start of the afternoon session before the veteran opener departed.

The tea score was 207 for four, Abell having gone to a watchful fifty off 89 deliveries, with eight fours. It was a responsible knock by the young skipper, but his hopes of a hundred ended when he edged a catch behind off Ravi Bopara.

Essex took the second new ball at 261 for five and broke through when Davies had his middle stump uprooted by Porter, having hit eight fours. Dom Bess then made eight before being caught at gully to give Siddle his third wicket.

The Australian ended a day shortened by four overs by bad light with three for 71 from 22 overs, while Porter claimed two for 75 from 21 overs.

Gregory, who has enjoyed an excellent Vitality Blast group campaign with the bat, looked in confident form, striking six fours in moving 42 off 48 balls.

At the close of play Marcus Trescothick said: “I was obviously pleased with my innings but gutted because I had to work pretty hard for it. Throughout the day there were some tough challenges. After the first 10 minutes I didn’t get a run! It was quite tricky building it up and getting through the new ball, so I’m gutted not to have cracked on to my hundred.

“After the first hour and 20 minutes I started to get going, after which it was alright for me. There’s not a great deal of pace in the pitch. There was a little bit of spin for Harmer, especially when he bowled it slower and the ball pitched full on. For the seamers there was a little bit with the new ball and bit more again tonight with the cloud cover, but all in all it was a bit slower than we maybe thought.”

Regarding his own comeback he said: “ I’ve enjoyed playing in the second team and it’s given me a good grounding. It’s been pretty productive for me. It’s been a good challenge, but you still want to get back to playing where it counts and every run you score and points you get on the board makes the difference.

“We had a big crowd in today and it makes a difference because you can feel the atmosphere and that made a big difference today.”

Regarding his partnership with Tom Abell, Marcus said: “Tom has been playing really well all season and his runs are starting to come which is important for him and for us. The partnership we had has put us into a good position going into day two.

“We have won the toss on a good pitch and are 308 for seven. Tomorrow we need to try to get as many as possible and try to get up past 350.”

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01/07/2022 18:15 - Lord's