Impressive Somerset right back in it on day three

An unbeaten half-century by Tom Abell maintained Somerset’s hopes of victory on a rain affected day three of this LV= Insurance County Championship match against Middlesex at Lord’s.

The visiting bowlers fought their way back into the game this morning as Middlesex set Somerset a victory target of 285.

Josh Davey (3 for 16), Jack Leach (3 for 18) and Craig Overton (3 for 26) claimed three wickets each as Middlesex were dismissed for 143 in their second innings. Stephen Eskinazi top scored for the hosts with 53.

Toby Roland-Jones trapped both Tom Banton (37) and James Hildreth (11) after Tom Lammonby had been removed for 0 early on, but the Middlesex attack met their match in Abell. The Somerset Captain remained unbeaten on 62 as his side reached 112 for three – needing a further 173 runs– before the weather intervened.

Somerset’s slip catching was faultless second time around, with Nick Gubbins failing to add to his overnight 37 as he slashed outside off stump and Lewis Gregory held the chance above his head.

Gregory also snapped up Robbie White off Leach for the second time in the match before Eskinazi brought up his half-century – his first in red-ball cricket for two years – by drilling Davey to the cover boundary.

In his next over Davey found the Middlesex skipper’s outside edge and Overton pulled off a brilliant one-handed catch, low to his right at second slip.

Tight bowling by Leach and Davey, who returned three for 16, had already prevented Middlesex from accelerating and Eskinazi’s departure initiated an alarming collapse, with the last six wickets tumbling for the addition of just 16.

Davey trapped John Simpson and Roland-Jones lbw in the space of four deliveries and Leach wrapped up the innings just before lunch, dismissing Martin Andersson and Ethan Bamber in the same fashion to finish with three for 18.

Somerset’s chase began badly, with Tom Lammonby edging his first ball from Bamber into the hands of first slip.

Banton and Abell shared a partnership of 79 and Banton found some good rhythm, striking Roland-Jones for successive boundaries to reach 37.

With the contest delicately poised, deteriorating light, followed by rain, prompted the umpires to bring a premature end to proceedings.

At the end of the day,  Josh Davey said: “I’ve worked really hard on some technical stuff, but the key for me is keeping it as simple as I can. We’ve got such a quality attack and we bowl so well as a unit.

“Having that quality around you really helps you to take wickets as well. When it’s overcast at Lord’s, there is something in it for the bowlers.

“It’s not going to be an easy chase by any means, but we definitely have the batting to do it. Abes has batted brilliantly and, with a good partnership here, we can get the momentum going in the right direction.”

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19/08/2022 14:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground