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Somerset fight back on day one

Somerset fought back well on the opening day of this Specsavers County Championship match against Surrey after centuries from Rory Burns and Dean Elgar put the visitors in a good position at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Having won the toss on a day of unbroken sunshine, the visitors ran up 330 for six, with skipper Burns contributing 107 and Elgar making 103 against one of his former clubs.

Surrey were 265 for two at one stage, but then lost four wickets for 30 runs as Lewis Gregory struck twice on his way to figures of three for 44 from 17 overs at the River End.

Burns took the obvious decision to bat first on what appeared a true batting pitch under cloudless skies and was rewarded when he and Mark Stoneman put together an opening stand of 96 from 30.3 overs.

They were parted just before lunch when Stoneman, who had moved to his half-century off 105 balls, with six fours, edged a defensive shot off Jack Brooks through to wicketkeeper Steve Davies and departed for 50.

Shortly after the interval it was 99 for two as Scott Borthwick was caught at third slip by Craig Overton, driving at a delivery from Gregory.

By tea the third-wicket partnership between Burns and Elgar was worth 118, Surrey having progressed to 217 for two.

The final session saw the opener reach three figures with a leg glance for two off Craig Overton. However, Somerset stuck to their task well. When Burns finally fell to a top-edged pull shot that saw him caught at mid-on off Tim Groenewald, having faced 188 balls and hit 10 fours, the hosts sensed an opening.

It was 268 for four when Ben Foakes was caught behind for three off a fine delivery from Somerset captain Tom Abell, who delayed taking the new ball as the old one was swinging.

That proved sound thinking as Elgar, who cut Abell for four to reach a 165-ball ton, was pinned lbw by a toe-crushing yorker from Gregory. Will Jacks then fell without scoring, another leg-before victim for Gregory, and suddenly Somerset were on top.

The home said took the second new ball at the start of the 90th over with the score 314 for six, but failed to make another breakthrough against a confident Patel and Clarke.

At the close of play Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “I thought that we stuck to our task really well throughout the whole day. The lads stuck to it and got their rewards later in the day.

“When Dean Elgar hit the ball into the river we had to change it and the second one started to present some swing and we utilised that brilliantly. That’s why we delayed taking the new ball.

“The pitch has looked quite slow, but once a partnership is established it looks like batting is slightly easier. However, you can never judge a wicket until both sides have batted on it.

“If we can come strongly in the morning I know what our side is capable of. If we can bowl them out for 350 to 400, who knows what might happen.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Hampshire

26/07/2019 18:30 - The Cooper Associates County Ground

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