Somerset on the brink of victory after day three

Somerset advanced to the brink of a potentially priceless Specsavers County Championship victory over Warwickshire on the third day at Edgbaston.

Set a highly unlikely victory target of 402 on a wearing pitch, the home side closed the day on 172 for six.

Former Warwickshire seam-bowler Tim Groenewald shunted his former team-mates towards the trapdoor with three wickets, a highly impressive effort on a pitch offering little help to the seamers. When Warwickshire dipped to 51 for three in mid-afternoon, a three-day defeat beckoned.

Jonathan Trott dug in for 74 but his departure in the closing minutes of the day left Somerset on the threshold of a win which will galvanise their survival bid.

Resuming their second innings at 75 for two, already 211 ahead, Somerset batted in largely untroubled fashion into the afternoon session before declaring on 265 for four. Marcus Trescothick remained unbeaten on 119 – his 65th first-class century.

Trescothick added 148 in 40 overs with James Hildreth (68) and, after Hildreth edged to slip to provide Matt Lamb with his maiden first-class wicket, 100 in 17 overs with Tom Abell.

Abell struck an aggressive 51 from 48 balls before declaring the innings when he was bowled by Ryan Sidebottom, leaving the young seamer with three for 69.

Groenewald then removed both openers in his second over, the eighth of the innings. Dominic Sibley edged to wicketkeeper Steve Davies and Andy Umeed was too late leaving a ball and steered it to slip. When Jack Leach added the wicket of Ian Bell, bowled through the gate by an arm-ball for 24, the Bears fans braced themselves for the sort of collapse which has plagued their season.

However, Lamb knuckled down for the second time in the match to help Trott add 66 in 27 overs before edging a fine Groenewald outswinger to Davies. Trott reached 50 for the 128th time in first-class cricket but fell lbw to Dom Bess ten minutes before the close and when Keith Barker perished the same way two balls later, the writing was on the wall.

Regarding his century Marcus said: “That was a special century for me because it’s been a tough season, so it’s good to come through and get the runs I’ve been looking for for a long period of time. It’s not been the luckiest of seasons for me but also I’ve not played very well at times.

“Edgbaston is a place I’ve always enjoyed playing. Back when I was playing for England it was always a good place to bat. It’s a nice ground and the atmosphere is always good and the pitch is always good.

“This has been a good cricket wicket with a bit in it for all involved, a bit of swing on the first day and some spin, then it got easier to bat on on the second day, though it still spun a bit. It’s got a bit more inconsistent but you can still dig in and get runs.

“They were a massive two wickets for us from Dom Bess right at the end. It just gave us a sniff of trying to claim the extra half-an-hour tonight. It’s just a question of sticking in there in the periods when the pitch looks flat and that’s what we did and we got our rewards. When you get new batsmen coming in and get pressure round the bat it gets pretty tricky.”

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground