Match finely balanced after day two
After losing the whole of the opening day of this LV= Insurance County Championship match between Somerset and Surrey, we finally saw action today at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Credit has to go to the groundstaff who had worked around the clock to ensure that there would be play on day two.
An early lunch was taken at 12:30pm and play got underway at 2pm with a total of 67 overs scheduled for the remaining two sessions.
Having won the toss, Somerset skipper Tom Abell elected to have a bowl under gloomy skies in Taunton, but a Rory Burns half-century laid the foundation for Surrey’s total of 191 for four.
However, Burns had to fight hard for his runs before falling for 55. Ollie Pope contributed 33 and Hashim Amla 29, while Lewis Gregory claimed his 300th First Class wicket in taking two for 60 from 18 overs before bad light ended proceedings eight overs early.
In the absence of the rested Craig Overton, Josh Davey took the new ball with Gregory and both went past the bat on numerous occasions.
The Surrey openers also survived a run-out scare in the opening over when, with Mark Stoneman stranded in mid-pitch after calling for a quick single, George Bartlett missed the stumps at the wicketkeeper’s end, running in from cover.
Tom Banton was behind the stumps in place of Steve Davies, who is facing a minor operation, and he was kept busy as the ball beat both batsmen without finding an edge.
Stoneman had moved to 18 in a stand of 43 with Burns when he failed to cope with a seaming delivery from Gregory and was taken at third slip by the diving Roelof van der Merwe.
Amla was tested by the Somerset pace attack at the beginning of his innings, but gradually he and Burns became more assured. Burns demonstrated growing confidence and moved to a half-century off 90 balls, with six boundaries.
By tea, he and Amla had taken the score to 116 for one. However, both departed soon after the interval, crestfallen at the manner of their dismissals.
Amla had passed 18,000 runs in First Class cricket when he pulled a short ball from Gregory to fine leg where Eddie Byrom held a comfortable catch above his head.
Burns was equally frustrated when he played a back-foot defensive shot off de Lange only to see the ball hit his stumps off an angled bat.
Suddenly Surrey were 119 for three and Ben Foakes and Ollie Pope had to begin rebuilding.
Pope looked assured in facing 59 balls, but then went to pull a delivery from Tom Abell and top-edged the ball to the back-pedalling Banton, who judged it well looking up into the floodlights.
From 168 for four, Ben Foakes and Jamie Smith saw Surrey through to the close at 191 for four.
At the end of the day, Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “We’re a little bit frustrated tonight. We haven’t quite capitalised on our opportunities and we didn’t ask enough questions for long enough. That’s why we haven’t got the rewards.
“We’ve had a huge amount of rain in the last few days and I think it’s important that we recognise the contribution of the groundstaff. They’ve done a brilliant job. The pitch played a little bit like the Middlesex wicket. If you can sustain areas long enough then there’s definitely something there. Similarly, if you miss then you get punished.
“We can’t control the weather so we will have to see what happens in the next two days. Only time will tell.”
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