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Somerset wrap up sensational win on day four

Somerset turned this LV= Insurance County Championship match on its head to pull off a stunning win against Middlesex on the final day at Lord’s.

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The visitors were in a perilous position on day two, but an 83-run partnership between Marchant de Lange and Jack Leach ensured that the team from the West Country avoided the follow-on. On day three the Somerset bowlers tilted the game in the visitors favour and today the batsmen completed the job.

Lewis Gregory’s swift unbeaten half-century landed the decisive blow as Somerset sealed a four-wicket victory.

The allrounder took the attack to the Middlesex attack after lunch, hitting 62 not out from 72 balls to put Somerset back in the ascendancy following Ethan Bamber’s double strike which had given Middlesex hope.

An unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 98 between Gregory and George Bartlett, who finished on 76 not out, saw the visitors home without further alarm.

The win enabled Somerset, runners-up in three of the last four County Championship campaigns, to immediately wipe out the eight-point penalty that has been imposed for this season’s competition.

Resuming on 112 for three, Somerset adopted a patient approach during the first hour and offered no chances as Bartlett settled into the groove alongside captain Tom Abell, who led the way with a measured knock of 84.

Bartlett batted confidently, capitalising on the absence of third man to keep the scoreboard ticking over, but Bamber’s switch to the Nursery End paid dividends as he ended Abell’s three-hour vigil with a thin edge behind, and then dismissed Steven Davies for a duck, moving the ball back down the slope to trap the left-hander leg before.

 

Craig Overton got off the mark by cracking Bamber through the covers for four, but Tim Murtagh’s outswinger removed him on the stroke of lunch, with Somerset still 98 short of their target.

However, Gregory immediately regained the initiative for the visitors after the interval, rapidly eating into the deficit as he dispatched Murtagh to the boundary three times in quick succession.

Bartlett brought up his half-century – passing 50 at First Class level for the eighth time – by driving Tom Helm off the back foot for four and Gregory soon followed suit from only 55 deliveries.

Middlesex kept rotating their seamers in a bid to stem the flow of runs, but the damage had already been done and Gregory applied the finishing touch, carving Bamber for four to level the scores before adding a single off the next ball.

An understandably delighted Tom Abell said: “The first two days we didn’t perform at all well and we were way behind the eight-ball. It was always going to be tricky chasing just shy of 300 in the last innings, but we were only thinking positively.

“The belief in the side is huge and we never lost faith in the dressing room. We just felt that, if we could establish those partnerships, we had what it took to chase it down.

“I’m so pleased for George. What an innings that was to see us home, and the way Lewis played at the end was magnificent. That does a huge amount for us as a side, having come from so far behind in the game.”

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Next MatchGloucestershire V Somerset

20/05/2021 11:00 - Bristol County Ground