Steve and Dom share a century stand on day one

Steve Davies and Dom Bess both scored half centuries on day one of this Specsavers County Championship match between Somerset and Nottinghamshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Having won the toss and elected to bat in bright sunshine, the First Division leaders were 145 for six by their opponents as Jake Ball, Luke Wood and Ravi Ashwin claimed two wickets each.

However, Bess then contributed 51 to an impressive seventh-wicket stand of 128 in 37 overs with Davies, who hit his highest score of the season.

The experienced wicketkeeper made 74, and by the close of play Somerset could feel satisfied with a total of 326 all out, knowing Notts will have to bat last on a pitch expected to turn as the match progresses.

Left-arm seamer Wood was the pick of the visiting attack, claiming four for 85. In making 44 for the hosts, James Hildreth achieved two notable milestones, moving up to fifth place, above Peter Roebuck, in Somerset’s all-time list of run-makers in First Class cricket and later passing 17,000 career First Class runs.

An evenly contested first session saw Wood strike with his first delivery after replacing Ball at the River End when Azhar Ali edging to second slip and departed for ten with the total on 22.

The off-spin of Ashwin was introduced in only the 11th over and he soon had Tom Abell (17) well caught at short-leg by Ben Slater, diving forward to accept a chance via the pad.

Hildreth’s breezy 68-ball contribution, featuring six fours, ended with the total on 96 when he attempted to drive Ball and edged a second catch to Steven Mullaney in the slips and at lunch Somerset were 111 for three.

The afternoon session saw George Bartlett bowled behind his legs by Wood for 18, Tom Banton (25) disturb his own stumps trying to keep out a ball from Ashwin and Lewis Gregory caught at mid-on for nine.

Any unease amongst the 3000 strong crowd at this point was eased by Davies and Bess as the pair solidly added exactly 50 by tea. They looked in little trouble of extending their stand after the break on what was looking a pretty flat pitch.

Left-hander Davies was first to his half-century, off 113 balls, with seven fours. The century partnership came up in 28 overs, without either batsman giving a chance, and the second new ball was taken at 256 for six.

Bess went to a fifth First Class fifty off 99 deliveries, with five boundaries, but the 21-year-old perished soon afterwards, edging a third catch of the innings to Mullaney and giving Wood his third wicket.

The accurate Notts seamer made it four when pinning Davies lbw on the back foot with the total on 292. However, Jamie Overton cover drove him for four to clinch a third batting point.

Overton went on to ensure Somerset go into day two with plenty of momentum, smiting 34 off just 35 balls, with four fours and a six, before being well caught at slip by Ben Duckett off Luke Fletcher.

Play ended for the day when Ashwin trapped Jack Leach lbw to finish with three for 93 from 34.3 overs.

At the close of play Steve Davies said: “It was one of my more important innings for Somerset. When Dom and I came together at 145 for six we were on the edge and the day could have gone either way. In the end we are pretty happy with our score.

“It was a crucial partnership that turned the game on its head a bit. Notts had started pretty well and had us under a lot of pressure, but we finished the day strongly and it’s going to be a huge one for us tomorrow.

“I think it will be hard work for the seamers. There was a little bit of turn, but we may need to get the ball moving in the air to create chances before letting our spinners operate into the rough.

“I’m not sure how the pitch will play as the match progresses, but we’ve had a decent day in the end and there’s definitely 20 wickets in it for us if we perform as we can.”

Dom Bess said: “I love batting with Steve Davies and we’ve got a great relationship. While we were out there we needed to make sure that we would get through each over and put the pressure back on them, so I really enjoyed it. Now it’s all about being patient for us.”

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