Tom and Lewis put Somerset in a strong position on day three

A century from Tom Abell and two wickets for Lewis Gregory put Somerset on top on day three of this Specsavers County Championship match at Emerald Headingley.

The Somerset Captain claimed his first century of the season before Gregory ensured that the White Rose reached close on eight for two from nine overs. The hosts now have an uphill battle to even secure a draw as they fight against relegation.

James Hildreth and Abell shared 135 for the fourth wicket as Somerset recovered from 29 for three before declaring late in the day on 339 for seven, with Abell 132 not out off 168 balls. Yorkshire therefore require 419 for victory.

The day started with the title-chasing Somerset securing a first-innings lead of 79.

Yorkshire advanced from 292 for seven to 320 all out as seamer Josh Davey claimed five for 65, a maiden First Class five-wicket haul.

Andrew Hodd then edged Lewis Gregory to first slip for 85 before Craig Overton wrapped up the innings by removing Jack Brooks.

The visitors were given a brief scare at the start of their second innings as they slipped to 29 for three, a lead of 108.

Yorkshire stand-in captain David Willey bowled Eddie Byrom and had Marcus Trescothick caught at second slip, while Matthew Fisher had Azhar Ali caught at cover.

However, Hildreth and Abell batted their side back into a position of significant strength, uniting through the majority of the afternoon with little trouble. Hildreth’s 72 off 111 balls backed up his first-innings 81. He was the only wicket to fall in the afternoon when he edged behind a cut at Adam Lyth’s off-spinners, leaving the score at 164 for four shortly before tea.

After tea, following the departure of Steve Davies (184 for five), Gregory raced to his second fifty of the match off 35 balls. He smashed Jack Leaning’s part-time off-spinners for a huge straight six and later pulled Brooks over mid-wicket for his second six as the lead approached 350.

Abell was then the sixth batsman in the match to reach 80, but the first to get to 100.

Gregory’s third six, over cover off Fisher, took him to 50, but he miscued Willey to mid-on shortly afterwards to put Somerset on 277 for six.

Abell then reached his century off 147 balls, and then it was all eyes on when the declaration would come given there was less than 20 overs remaining in the day.

It came when Craig Overton was run out coming back for a second to deep backward square-leg.

Gregory then bowled Harry Brook for a duck in the fifth over of Yorkshire’s second innings, leaving the score at three for one.

Josh Shaw came in as nightwatchman to join Lyth, who was caught behind in Gregory’s next as the score fell to four for two.

Shaw and Kane Williamson will return to the crease to start day four.

At the close of play Tom Abell said: “It was a fantastic day for us. We spoke this morning and felt we weren’t quite at our best. Today it was all about how we came back from that. The way we wrapped up their first innings was a fantastic effort.

“Full credit to JD (Davey) with his first five-for. He’s been outstanding all season. Yesterday and this morning he was awesome. I’m really chuffed for him.

“To back it up with the bat, Hildy (James Hildreth) was phenomenal again, and Lewis (Gregory) is in great form. I’ve never seen anyone striking it as well as consistently as he is.

“It was a good day all round. We’re really happy with our position, and we’re really looking forward to tomorrow.

“Getting a hundred is a very special feeling. It’s been a while for me, so it’s a very proud day. I’m over the moon, and it’s a bit of a monkey off the back.

“I’m quite happy with my season. I’ve been contributing in places, but scoring hundreds for Somerset is what I wanted to do as a kid.”

For the match scorecard click here

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