Warwickshire make steady progress on day one


Somerset showed why the LV=Insurance County Championship is such a difficult tournament to win as they made title-chasing Warwickshire work for every run on the opening day at Edgbaston.

The visitors arrived bottom of Division One but bowled wholeheartedly all day as the Bears reached 283 for four.

Will Rhodes (60, 133 balls) and Dominic Sibley (56, 165) laid a platform for a solid Warwickshire total and Sam Hain (83 not out, 198) and Matt Lamb (44, 92) built on it, but the Bears have work to do in the morning to take the initiative in the title race.

If they reach 350 in 110 overs (for which they need another 67 in 14 overs), then go on to acquire full bowling points and win, they will be champions unless Lancashire (25 for three overnight) total 400 and beat Hampshire at Aigburth. On the first hour tomorrow, could the whole title equation hinge.

After putting the Bears in, Somerset bowled well, assisted by some lateral movement and swing, so it was testing work for the batsmen. Rob Yates departed, caught at second slip off Josh Davey, in the fourth over but Sibley and Rhodes concentrated hard to take their side to 80 for one at lunch.

The captain advanced to a compact half-century in 102 balls in the afternoon session and the second-wicket pair added 121 in 41 overs before Rhodes edged Tom Lammonby to wicketkeeper Steven Davies.

Sibley played the shot of the day, a gorgeous down-the-track straight drive off Jack Leach, on the way to passing fifty for the 43rd time in first-class cricket. All day, the ball nipped around though and in the 55th over he copped a perfect outswinger from Jack Brooks which took a nick through to Davies.

That was 139 for three, with the balance of play finely poised, but Hain and Lamb ensured there was no further damage up to tea, at which Warwickshire were 161 for three from 64 overs.

As wickets tumbled at Liverpool, the rising question was how many batting points Warwickshire might need. Hain and Lamb batted watchfully at first, then began to accelerate after tea and added 121 in 41 overs before Brooks trapped Lamb in front.

Michael Burgess, who received his first team cap before play, and Hain batted with freedom to reach the close unbeaten with power to add tomorrow.

Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: 

“I was delighted with the way the bowlers performed. They bowled really well in the first session and could easily have got more rewards and then stuck to their task all day.

“Warwickshire probably have the slight edge but there could easily have been another couple of wickets to tilt it the other way.

“It is a good surface and, looking at the way pitches have played Edgbaston this season, is probably going to get better for batting.”

Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes said:

“It’s all to play for in the morning. We need 60-odd in 14 overs which would helps us out point-wise with what’s going on at Liverpool and put us in a position where everything would be in our own hands.

“It was tough going with the bat today but the guys did really well to put a decent total on the board. The pitch did a little bit all day which bodes well and hopefully will remain the case over the next couple of days. There is probably not the pace in the pitch we might have truly wanted but hopefully a little bit of sun might quicken it up and it might dry out a little bit and help the carry. The bowlers are ready to go.”

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