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Somerset on top on day two

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Somerset’s bowlers picked up where the Club’s batters left off on the second day of this LV= Insurance County Championship match against Warwickshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

After an initial fightback, the current champions were made to look anything but, as Somerset turned the screw in impressive style.

It was a day that had almost everything.

An international batter reaching his half century, a mini collapse, five wickets for a visiting bowler, some glorious tail end wagging, an actual collapse and further lower order batting prowess.

Josh Davey, Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory each claimed two wickets, while Jack Brooks, Tom Abell and Jack Leach all weighed in with one apiece as Warwickshire, replying to the home side’s first-innings 458, reached the close on 197 for nine, still 261 behind and requiring a further 111 to avoid the follow-on.

Sam Hain (54) and Nathan McAndrew (47) added 76 for the seventh wicket to frustrate the home side who had been absolutely dominant up to that point.

Somerset added a further 107 runs to their tally in the morning session with Tom Banton reaching his 50, but Somerset slipped to 373 for eight. However, a 44-run partnership between Jack Leach and Josh Davey, plus a last wicket stand of 41 between Leach and Jack Brooks ensured that Somerset reached 458 all out at lunch. Oliver Hannon-Dalby was the pick of Warwickshire’s bowlers, finishing with five for 89 from 31.4 overs.

Enjoying the luxury afforded by a substantial first innings total, and their four batting points, Somerset’s seam bowlers were given license to express themselves, and attacking fields were a constant feature of an afternoon session in which Warwickshire slumped to 92 for six.

Jack Brooks set the tone in the eighth over, persuading Alex Davies to push hard at a ball outside off stump and edge to fourth slip where Craig Overton stooped to conquer. England batsman Dom Sibley departed soon afterwards, playing across the line and missing a ball that rapped him on the pads.

Despondency in the visitors’ camp took a firm hold when Davey removed Rob Yates, an inside edge looping up to Overton at fourth slip, while Lewis Gregory got in on the act, inducing Will Rhodes to scoop to mid-on, where Tom Lammonby took a fine catch on the run.

Gregory made further in-roads, Matthew Lamb playing outside off stump and nicking to Matt Renshaw at second slip as the Bears subsided to 70 for five,  and things went from bad to worse for the visitors when, in the final over before tea, Michael Burgess pushed tentatively at a length ball from Overton and was caught at the wicket.

Somerset skipper Abell called for the slow left arm of Leach in the final session, and the England spinner came up trumps, pinning Danny Briggs lbw for 13 as Warwickshire further subsided to 113 for seven.

Hain found support from an unlikely source, Australian Nathan McAndrew keeping him company in the early-evening sunshine and serving up a mixture of aggression and circumspection in an adhesive partnership that served to frustrate Somerset ambition. Crucially for the home side, both succumbed shortly before the close, Hain nicking a catch behind off Abell and McAndrew edging Overton to third slip, all but ending Warwickshire’s slim chances of averting the follow-on.

At the close of play, Somerset Bowling Coach, Steve Kirby said: “Our bowlers have been superb all year and it’s a real credit to each of them individually. It was really good to see us bowl as well as we did today. There’s real competition for places and the whole unit is coming together nicely.

“There’s enough in the wicket if you put it in the right areas and we did that well today. The guys stuck to their task impressively today and I’m proud of every one of them. You never know what a good score is until both sides have batted, and we’ve showed that we batted particularly nicely. You always want more but I think that we’ve gone about our business well over both days so far. People are coming in to form, everyone is working really hard and things are starting to gel now.”

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Next MatchSomerset XI V Sri Lanka Development XI

27/05/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground