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Tom and Jamie lead Somerset fightback

Tom Abell and Jamie Overton helped Somerset fight back after Yorkshire had the better of the initial exchanges in this Specsavers County Championship match at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

After an uncontested toss the visitors made an early breakthrough when Steve Davies was caught at point off Steve Patterson with the total on 18.

Murali Vijay looked solid in batting through the first hour of his Somerset debut, but having made seven, he edged a back-of-a-length ball from Duanne Olivier and departed caught behind. Olivier quickly followed up by bowling James Hildreth between bat and pad.

When Tom Banton was caught at second slip off Tim Bresnan the home side found themselves on 46 for four.

Abell, batting at three, looked calmly in control as he and George Bartlett took the total to 70 by lunch. However, the second ball after the interval saw Bartlett attempt a reverse sweep off Maharaj, directing the ball to Lyth at slip.

Lewis Gregory contributed a brisk 12 before being caught behind by Jonathan Tattersall, standing up to the stumps to Ben Coad, and Somerset were 85 for six.

Having taken his first wicket, Maharaj, who quickly found some turn from the River End, set about polishing off the tail, tempting Dom Bess to drive a catch to short cover and dismissing Roelof van der Merwe lbw pushing forward.

However, Abell had gone to an excellent half-century off 124 balls, with seven fours, and from 148 for eight, he and Overton, who had been awarded his County Cap by Kevin Shine during the lunch interval, added 51 to take Somerset to within one run of a batting point.

Sadly, they never achieved it because the accurate Maharaj gained lbw verdicts against Abell (66) and last man Josh Davey in the space of three balls. Abell had faced 193 balls and hit eight fours, while the unbeaten Overton’s run-a-ball 40 featured six boundaries whilst Maharaj finished with five for 54.

Soon Yorkshire were struggling too, as Will Fraine nicked a catch behind off Gregory. Davey induced a similar error from Lyth, but not before he had hit two sixes, the first off a top-edge and the second sweetly-timed over mid-wicket to bring up 10,000 First Class runs for his county.

From 27 for two, Gary Ballance and Tom Kohler-Cadmore batted sensibly in the early evening sunshine until Ballance fell lbw to off-spinner Dom Bess in the penultimate over.

It was a huge breakthrough for a Somerset side pressing to win a first ever Championship against opponents not entirely out of the title-race themselves.

By the close, Yorkshire had reached 70 for three.

At the close of play Jamie Overton said: “It felt great to receive my cap. Eight years of hard work have led up to it and it seems I’ve been around for a long time. It’s recognition of what I have done for Somerset and I feel privileged to join the list of the players capped by the club I love.

“I’ve been working hard on my batting and was pleased to get some runs when they were needed today. Tom was the glue for our innings and he enabled the rest of us to play with a bit more freedom.

“The pitch is tacky. The ball is turning because the surface is soft and it was a big wicket for us getting Gary Ballance out so near the close.”

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